She began as a self-taught artist, as she extensively worked on reproductions of Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings. Operating out of Fusion Raja Ravi Varma Gallery, her art studio, the Singapore-born artist, has always been working towards preservation of ancient forms of arts.
However, today with a decade and more as an established artist, N Swarnalatha feels that commercialising arts steals the impact it can have on social issues.
“I have nothing to prove as an artist. I have exhibited my mettle and people know what I am capable of. Now, I am focusing on art only for social causes,” says the artist, whose latest exhibition ‘Nirbhaya The Plight Of Women’ met with a great response when it was showcased at the Indian Habitat Centre in New Delhi.
The exhibition comprising paintings and sculptures, had highlighted the plight of women and the lack of safety, as it drew inspiration from the 2012 Delhi gang rape case. She says, “Since my husband works in Delhi, I regularly visit the city. After the incident last December, I noticed that every girl, every woman in the city was in fear. Parents of children as young as three seemed to be insecure and worried about their safety. Back in Chennai, there were back to back cases of acid attacks on women that added to the despair. That fear that was looming large disturbed me a lot. I wanted to do something to highlight the plight through the medium I know.”
Nirbhaya turned out to be a very successful show with the who’s who of the city turning up at the exhibition. Talking about the impact the artist says, “If it has made an impact on the people who attended the show, I have received the best award. Most of them at the exhibition told me that my works on display had moved them a lot. That reception has given me the confidence to work more on subjects that highlight the need for social change.”
Her other works centered on social change is the Ozone series that shows the protection that one derives from the warmth of a mother. She maintains that she wants to continuously work towards sensitising people on gender and equality. “That is possibly because I get affected a lot by seeing the various forms of violence against women. Being a woman, I understand the significance of the need to live without fear,” she adds.