An introduction to 19th century Japanese visual and literary culture in the midst of the pandemic highlighted the differences between the idealistic and realistic representations of women in that era for me. This awareness prompted me to engage with art at a deeper level as I was introduced to the underlying themes and symbolism present in paintings that I often only glanced at.
Inspired by the way the Japanese artists communicated and created an impact on their audience, I conceptualised Perspectives – an interview series that explores the portrayal of women in Indian society through art. Mentored by Abhishek Poddar, founder of the Museum of Art & Photography, I interviewed leading artists, curators, and art critics to explore artistic styles, intentions, and the role of cultural influences on Indian art. Through the course of the series, I not only explored paintings, but also other artistic genres such as photography and sculpture. Furthermore, I looked at the representation of women through different angles, be it their role as mothers, goddesses or their depiction in popular culture and film.
Curating this series pushed me out of my comfort zone, teaching me to communicate more effectively as well as think outside the box. My interactions with experts unfurled the multiple layers, metaphors and manipulations that were built into the compositions. Speaking with renowned filmmaker Muzaffar Ali helped me understand how direction and set design plays a role in bringing out the character’s traits while dialogue with art critic Ms. Gayatri Sinha gave an insight to the more academic standpoint of Indian art and the various symbols used to depict particular ideologies. The discussions enable the viewer to interpret the artworks in the context of their personal experiences as well as through their learnings of formal elements and principles of art.
With every episode, I aim to cultivate an appreciation for the thought process of the artist amongst the youth and give them a glimpse into the numerous facets that go into the creation of a single piece of artwork.