Giving a mystic frame to human body through art

Her canvas is dominated by feminine motifs concocting an unusual visual tension; a mosaic of women who transcend the accepted paradigms of physical presence and proximity.

Published: 16th April 2017 09:47 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th April 2017 07:06 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: Her canvas is dominated by feminine motifs concocting an unusual visual tension; a mosaic of women who transcend the accepted paradigms of physical presence and proximity. What Sajitha R Shankar explores is the infinite expressiveness of human anatomy, a concept well chronicled in Alterbodies, her latest series of work. “My art is an organic progression that maps the  personal and political influences of time and space,” says the artist who recently won the Pollock-Krasner Foundation award, a prestigious international honour.

Sajitha’s creative world is deeply rooted in Indian philosophy with a definite and pronounced mystic edge. She calls art ‘a paranormal activity of body and mind’ and indulges in colours with a strong sense of confidence. “During my early formative years I was quite influenced by western art. But later I developed my own style that draws its essence and energy from Indian ethos,” she says.

Her frames are intimate, heartfelt and endlessly compelling. There is not much space for vulnerability and she says when a woman approaches her art honestly, it will have a strong feminist bias. “You don’t need any conscious effort for that. It just flows into your work naturally and spontaneously. And as a person who has gone through all kinds of extremes, you will also see slivers of self in my works.”

Alterbodies is a series that follows two vast thematic areas - Women Archetypes and Mother Archetypes, each taking over five years to complete. “We always define body in terms of sexuality, but here I am trying to go  beyond that aspect of physicality. I am looking into alternative possibilities of body in a very intimate and spiritual way.” Tantric yoni, her much-noted triangular installation, is a well-crafted symbol of themes and analogies. “It was made at the request of Eve Ensler, the author of Vagina Monologues. The huge installation was made with pure organic colours.

Sacks of kumkum were brought in with turmeric and burnt rice husk for the work,” she says.  She believes it’s very important for artists to come together and interact. Gowri Art Institute, her studio at Kallar, was born out of this thought. “While I was living in various foreign countries I had been part of such art communes. So I wanted to create a space where people with creative spark can gather and engage in a dialogue. I was very close to Kamala Das and dancer Chandralekha. The idea of Gowri Art Institute came up during one of our casual conversions,” she says.

An alumni of College of Fine Arts, Trivandrum, Sajitha says she grew as an artist at Cholamandalam Artists’ Village where she stayed for 19 years. Now with a string of laurels to her credit, she says it was not easy breaking onto the scene and getting established. “As a woman artist I had to brave many personal and professional storms.” She says that Kerala is the worst possible place for an artist to grow. “We hardly get any acknowledgment or encouragement here. There are many hidden talents, but they are noted only when they venture out. I think government and the art fraternity should come forward to promote them,” she adds.


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