Five youngsters, who were occasionally brought together by a common passion for some social activities, soon discovered that they had another common love - art. And this happy discovery led to the birth of ‘Team Rachayya’. Arun V K, a full-time artist, Devika Asok and Malini Asok, two engineers, Jijo Kuriakose, a Micro Economics research scholar and Sachin Sathyarajan, a lawyer, formed a novel group with the idea of expressing their artistic musings. The Delhi gangrape incident occurred, just when the artists were seeking to finalise a theme for their exhibition, and they were so stunned by the enormity of the whole episode, that the theme was decided upon in a matter for minutes.
“The gruesome incident shocked us and we really wanted to express our angst, to create an impact in the society. That was the inspiration behind ‘Prakirti,’ which we forged as an exhibition on womanhood,” says Jijo. The exhibition is aimed to be a fund raiser for Child Charitable Trust at Tripunithura.
The exhibition, portraying woman in her myriad moods, has been done on various media. There are 35 paintings and two installations. And a distinctive element of the works is that, unlike the usual group show, each piece of art exhibited displays the collective synergy of the five artists. So, naturally the question arises, how is it possible, since each artist may have his/her own distinctive artistic temperament. Says Malini, “Our work is like a poetic composition in which if one person pens the lyrics, another composes the music and a third sings. We all shared our ideas, that led to the finalisation of each work.”
The quintet had undergone thorough research work, before doing their works, visible from the way the long-ceased fables and myths form the themes of the paintings. “We approached elderly people for gathering information, and then read more about them,” says Devika. One striking piece is that of Mary Magdalene, a knife painting. Two clay hands, with bitten apples, complete the work.
Many of the drawings are inspired from poems, especially that of Sugathakumari. In one piece, the woman is personified as goddess earth and the work speaks loudly that she undergoes agony for each deed against woman. In the painting she sheds feathers. Malini says, “I have read that celestial bodies never shed tears, that is why feathers are being shed.” The predominant themes that the women motifs convey are freedom, fearlessness, hope, sisterly affection, female foeticide among many others. While in one painting she is Shakunthala, draped in orange, symbolising hope, in other work, she is a chirpy sister in a gay mood. In another work, she is in the form of ‘Sita’ who seeks her final refuge in the lap of mother earth. “When Sita steps into the fire, the flames blossom as flowers,” explains Malini. Kannagi, the legendary character of Silapathikaram, is portrayed through her fiery anklets done in red backdrop. “We wanted to showcase the wrath of a woman when she is wronged,” says Malini.
And what triggered the menfolk among the group to speak about their emancipation? “We simply love the idea of a woman,” puts Jijo simply. He adds, “They have every right to lead lives of dignity in this society,” he added.
Some works have a mural touch. There are some innovative works done in mixed mediums like water colour and charcoal, oil paint and pen. “Like our theme, we experimented with the media as well,” says Arun. The exhibition going on at Durbar Hall art gallery will conclude on Wednesday.