World of women

The Chroma Della Vita exhibition that concluded recently at Lalitha Kaka Academy Art Gallery in Kozhikode was filled with many hues of creativity and freedom

Published: 22nd April 2022 07:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd April 2022 07:11 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: The Chroma Della Vita exhibition was the first show organised by artists of Varamukhi Women Art Collective. “The exhibition from March 14 to 18 was our first. Paintings by sixteen women from all walks of life were part of it — homemakers, teachers, and writers.  Chroma Della Vitta means colours of life. The exhibition is a reflection of how we see the world,” said Majni Thiruvangoor, one of the founders and the leader of Varamukhi.

The idea for the collective came when Majni realised it is difficult for women to establish themselves as artists. “The priority of our collective was to create a comfortable space for women to share their ideas and attend art camps that give their voice the weightage it deserves,” she says.

It is great to have a space to share with other women artists,  says Thara Rajagopal, one of the sixteen members of the community. “We can be ourselves here. Though we conduct shows with other art collectives, it is nice to have Varamukhi to go back to.

It is not that we are uncomfortable with a mixed space, but there are things women go through that only other women will understand,” says Thara.

But Varamukhi is more than just an empowerment platform. “It doesn’t scream the cliche adukalayil ninnu arangatheku slogan. The collective is far ahead of that. We share ideas, adopt new methods, organise new camps and shows, protest and document the world through our perspective,” says Ambili Vijayan, another artist.

New horizon
When Varamukhi was formed in 2017 with 18 members, it was a space for women to detach from familial pressures and societal constraints. In the last five years, however, it has grown beyond their imagination. Though two members left the group, the rest are here to stay.

“I used to paint the walls of government schools to support artistic inclination among children. Since I joined Varamukhi, this has become a group activity. We have painted the walls of schools in Koilandi and Farooq panchayats together,” says Shareefa, an art teacher, who used to paint realistic images, but is now venturing into abstract art. She is joined by another member of the collective Mary Ermina Rodrigues. Like them, many have started exploring new styles through Varamukhi.

The members were earlier tasked with painting the wall outside freedom fighter G Kelappan’s house, which was converted into a historical building recently. The walls now adorn a portrait of Kelappan and various scenes from the independence movement.  “We also lend our brushes to support battles we believe in. Farmer’s strike was one of them. Though our members believe in various political ideologies, we never discriminate. We take part in good causes that help the marginalised people of our society,” says Majni.

The artists indulge in mediums including acrylic and oil to watercolour. “One of the first decisions we made when the collective was founded was that the members would make a painting each week and share it with the group on Sundays. It can be a line drawing or elaborate surreal art. This has helped us a lot. If not for that, art would have taken a backseat in many of our lives when more pressing responsibilities come around,” says Ambili. The collective’s immediate goal is to conduct an exhibition in Kochi and organise solo exhibitions for all its members. 


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