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Telling stories of self, society and space — our artists of the week embrace varied mediums

Dakshayani Chippada: The quiet impact of money in human lives


Having chosen printmaking as a medium primarily, artist Dakshayani Chippada tends to gravitate towards seemingly simple compositions, often rendered in black and white or a limited range of hues. However, truth be told, she shows expertise in mediums beyond these, and as for her subjects — their complexity invariably arises in their meaning and heft, and even the nuances that are embedded into every new vision. She professes that at its core, her work shows the role of money in the lives of common people, working for daily wages and struggling for a livelihood. \’Bonding 1\’, created with pen and ink on paper, is an interesting example of the same. It is a small purse or bundle or bag, weaved together with scraps of cloth in the inimitable rural style of Indian folk art, predisposing a certain brightness of colour and variation of textile. Here, it is shown in sombre hues of gray, expertly shaded and suspended in mid-air from its thick strings, suggesting a certain swinging emptiness or lightness, against a backdrop of pure off-white. From the viewer, it certainly generates curiosity as to its contents and origins. Interestingly, another poignant, old-style rendition of the same theme (once more using pen and ink on paper) is \’Adjustment\’. It is a triptych of sorts, with three separate creased, unravelled pieces of paper or parchment neatly arranged next to one another; fading ghost-like into the centre of each page, but prominently placed in its foreground is the outline of a pocket, each spun of a different cloth. The paper carries a South Indian script, indicating quantities and items, like a grocery list. The overall sense evokes the classic combination of a compilation of domestic requirements quietly carried around in a provider\’s pockets, to be accomplished on a daily basis for the homemaker.



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Debaroti Seth: Arranging nostalgia into a space of the present


The technique to represent art borne of memories and experiences that has been chosen by artist Debaroti Seth is rather unique in nature. There is a variation on abstract themes or clear photographic representation, but what remains constant in her artistic installations is the sense of arrangement — the album-like compilation of snapshots of what becomes a re-telling in its entirety. Debaroti says that the sheer act of creating compositions that put discrete moments into a common space, thereby binding their relativity, is part of her effort. It also brings together objects of different sources into a single dimension. One could observe the cyanotype on paper piece, \’Untitled 2\’, for some perspective on the same. Three photographs have been treated to a certain filter while being developed to present a blue wash to each frame, stuck roughly against a black backdrop. There is an almost sepia-like effect due to the same, clearly bringing up a sense of the past or nostalgia. These seem to be sundry moments of time spent with family or friends or peers; the provenance is unclear, as are the faces of the characters and the exact location they are in. They do seem to be, however, connected to a common emotion. On the other hand, \’Collage 2\’, which has been created using acrylic on OHP sheets, has an unsettlingly ambiguous sense to it. Once more, the artist repeats the concept of images imitating photographic negative film put together in a series, bound by a commonality of experience in time. Here, each composition takes on an abstract tone, like a pastiche of barely finished elements thrown together. There are characters that seem to be indicating travel, enjoyed moments, and perhaps a setting of college or varsity life, if one reads into certain disparate motifs that crop up in different frames.

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Manish Kumar: Depicting introspection via identifiable themes


While his themes are easily identifiable, the depth in the pieces of artist Manish Kumar stems from the fact that he embeds himself into each theme that he draws. Thereby, he explains, he is a narrator of any given vision, and it becomes an externalization of sorts of his own experiences and understandings. More simply, he elaborates, that while his forms are not abstract, their distortion represents his emotions towards that subject. To understand more of the same, one could pick up \’Emotions III\’. Water color and pen have been expertly used here to create an eye-catching visage. The colours of the face itself are earthy — yellows, browns, ochres, all expertly shaded for a play of light and shadow. A bountiful crop of hair atop is depicted using pen, standing tall and somewhat aggressively from the scalp, almost in a protective stance. The features of this person, ambiguous in gender and age and racial origin, are serene. There is a Buddha-like calm in the expression, with closed eyes, and a contemplative look, which instantly intrigues the viewer. While the medium of \’Romantic Cloud III\’ is similar (water colour), the theme is quite different. A splendid sunrise seems to be bursting out of a horizon, or possibly obscured by a large and passing dark cloud. The wash of bright sunny yellows and reds dominate the sky, bringing an almost blinding sense of light to the frame; the rays also burst forth from the sun, despite its body being partially hidden by a slowly dissipating black cloud, which streams in and out of the piece in an inevitable but defeated manner. There is perhaps a subtle, hidden story of hope and endurance tucked away here for those who wish to see it.

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