The profound echo of their passionate souls reverberated through the freshly painted off-white walls of Artlife Gallery in Noida. After all, on it were etched their stories, sans words. Silence, in some inexplicable way, portrayed their artistic narratives in the most lucidly emphatic way, one that brought out their expressions to animated existence. We’re talking about the five artists who’re displaying their works as part of an exhibition titled The Balm of Art at the gallery.
With women as the exhibition’s central theme, the two curators of the show, Pratibha Agarwal and Priti Bajaj, along with being the promoters of the gallery, believe that women are real warriors. “She’s versatile, independent and strong-willed, and it’s these characteristics that we wanted to bring out through The Balm of Art,” says Agarwal, who is seconded by Bajaj.
The five artists, three of whom are women, agree that a concept like this has a lot of scope for exploration. “It was my sister-in-law, the woman who inspired me to take up oil painting, that I owe a lot of my success to. All my life, I’ve only wanted to do two things—swimming and oil painting. It’s because of her presence that I took it up three years ago. It shows how the strength of one woman could give power to another,” says Pooja Pandey, an upcoming artist. Her sister-in-law Sonal, sitting at arm’s length, smiles at the compliment. “We both understand each other well. That’s the relationship most women share with one and other, I think,” she says. Pandey’s paintings are born out of her meditative state, since she’s been practising a couple of methods for some time now. The fact that women are worshipped on one hand, and killed inside the womb, on the other, has been a burning issue for her. It’s also reflected in her work.
For artist Amrit Kapoor, art is an extension of love. She paints what she feels from the deepest recesses of her heart and has some sound advice to give. “If somebody has an impatient streak, they should give painting a try. It’ll soothe their nerves,” she says with a smile.
In complete agreement with Kapoor is the soft-spoken Bhaskar Singha. “It makes you still. Even for those who are already forbearing, it’ll benefit further,” he says. Having spent his entire life in the company of very strong women—mother, sister, cousins, wife and now children—one thing has really struck a chord with him that reflects clearly through his work, the smile of a woman. “It’s the most poignant attribute in their personality and it reflects a certain strength of character,” he says.
For the senior-most artist in the group, Sher Singh Kukkal, women represent sacrifice. He’s seen many instances, wherein women have selflessly forgone many pleasures to please loved ones. “We need more shows to understand the powerful role women play. I wish more
gallerists learn from Artlife’s endeavours and give women their due place in the larger scheme of things,” says Kukkal.