Defining identity and experience through art

Who am I? How do I perceive myself? In what way does my experience drape my identity? What sets my behaviour, thought process and character apart from others? Does my ethnic heritage and religion play a role in shaping my view? Does my identity alter with my life’s experiences? How do these find root in my art?

Forum Art Gallery, Adyar presents ‘Identity and Experience’, an art exhibition that delves into the way how individual experiences and perceptions are knotted in shaping one’s own identity. The exhibition showcases the works of popular artists exploring notions of identity based on their experience to convey a myriad of thoughts that elucidated the sacred, reverend and the earthly.

Recent paintings and sculptures of artists A V Ilango, Biswajit Balasubramanian, K Muralidharan, M Senapathi, Manisha Raju, Nirmala Biluka, R Sundararaju, Santhosh Kotagiri, Shalini Biswajit Thejomaye Menon and sculptor P Elanchezhiyan are exhibited in small format. The works of these artists are captivated by a strange subtlety and indirectness in the way they bind experience and identity make them outstanding.

Renowned painter A V Ilango’s works has always been an interpretation of his personal experiences. The endearing characters portrayed in cartoonist’s Biswajit Balasubramanian’s sketches are layered with a touch of humour, which populated his works whereas K Muralidharan realized the importance of creating work that reflected his experiences taken from his own soil. To him, Goddess merely represents the power of women therefore it fits for deification. According to M Senapathi the dynamics of relationships are never static and it changes as life’s experiences grow. Drawing on the imagery and oral traditions of the epic stories, fables and Hindu mythology make his works impressionable.

In the works of Manisha Raju, meditation is portrayed as a form of finding one’s inner truth. Nirmala Biluka finds expression in the feminine forces of nature regarded as sacred and spiritual in the form of local village deities.

The artist R Sundararaju lean towards his native surroundings to glorify the common woman, an earthy being with divine attributes. A language that combined script and imagery marked his signature style. Santhosh Kotagiri defined his characters based on the imagery that appeared first in deep sleep which had a surreal feel that was true to himself.The gods and goddesses that were projections of his nocturnal mindscape floated as celestial beings amid flora that transported them to another realm of reality.

Shalini Biswajit’s work experiences were articulated in visual terms and were bathed in colours and metaphors that traced her spiritual journey as a seeker of the ultimate truth of the self. Thejomaye Menon was deeply influenced by Kannappan Nayanar and tales from Shiva Purana. The artist unravelled the imageries of Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva using symbolic references. Drawing inspiration from childhood, the aesthetics offered by bronze remains P Elanchezhiyan’s foremost priority seamlessly combining the universality of nature and culture.

The exhibition at Forum Art Gallery, Adyar will come to end on 21 December. For more details, contact at 044 42115596

(Written by Heera Ramesh)


NT Bureau