We wanted women to take charge of their own depiction,” states Aparna Varma, Manager of Method Gallery in Kala Ghoda, Mumbai. The heterosexual dynamic has traditionally shaped the notions
of artist and muse––the male as the creator, sublimating his sexual prowess to make art, and the female as the muse, the passive object of inspiration. To challenge this notion, Method recently presented a show titled Muse that had on display a collection of artworks featuring women through the lens of women.
“We did this to prove a point. Whether or not that sparks change is up to the rest of the art community, be it collectors, curators and others,” says Varma. The show brought together 15 exhibitors from artisanal clusters and design voices in the space. The show has been wrapped up, but all the works are available online for inquiries and sales, Varma adds. The gallery invited submissions from across the country for “voices waiting to own and share the narrative of their bodies”.
“Honestly, it was tough to choose the artists and there were many phenomenal and deserving artists that we had to decline simply due to lack of space. If we had a massive gallery, we would have included more artists,” says co-curator Emma Sciantarelli. “I believe that art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable,” says Delhi-based Portia Roy, who is among the 17 artists whose works were on display at Muse. She has contributed two works titled ‘Last Human Standing’ and ‘She Resists’ engraved on rosewood ply with ink.
Roy explains, “Images and incidents that disturb me have always been the subject of my work. I have never tried to visualise an image, they are always in front of my eyes compelling me to give them a body. The ideas are often derived from a melancholic feeling and images are manifestations of the desperation I feel within myself.” Shuchi Satyavanshi from Mumbai participated with acrylic on canvas work titled ‘In the Army of Strangers’.
“There has been enough said and done by men about women. It is high time we took ownership of our own bodies, lives, work, and perception,” remarks the young artist. She believes that initiatives like Muse will eventually bring a change where more women will take charge of their representation in the arts.
“There is a questionable presence of unconditional intimacy in my work, where the idea of a bodily presence is not focused on,” adds Delhi-based artist Shivangi Kalra.