All India Women Artists’ Art Exhibition 2016
5th All India Women Artists’ Contemporary Art Exhibition 2016 took place from March 18 to March 31, 2016. It saw a large number of works including paintings, graphics, sculptures and photographs. Chaudhary Birender Singh, Union Minister of Steel, Govt. of India inaugurated the exhibition and gave away the prizes. The art critic was Parul and the Jury member was Professor Shukla Sawant.
MESSAGE BY CHIEF GUEST
Chaudhary Birender Singh
Union Minister of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Sanitation & Drinking Water, GoI
Platform for self-expression
I am pleased to know that Artscapes is holding its 5th All India Contemporary Women Artists Art Exhibition on 18th March, 2016. Art plays an important role in our lives by expressing individuality, creativity and feelings. The contribution of women in this field is exceptional as they enhance the lives of those around them and through their works of art make an impact on society. It is heartening to note that Artscapes is making continual efforts for encouraging the women artists by providing them an enabling platform for self-expression.
I extend my heartiest congratulations to the award winners, participants and wish the organizers all success.
MESSAGE BY ART CRITIC
The voice of art
Art spaces across the world, including India are brimming with a certain energy. Delicate yet strong hands are filling colours into cracks, metamorphosing their identity completely. There is laughter, yet there is seriousness, at times there is a frown too. What is most enchanting is the fact that her fingers on the easel are not just filling shades associated with any woman’s movement or addressing issues exclusive to the fairer sex but in fact, bringing forth larger social and political concerns. This is in fact, the real coming of age of the modern Indian woman artist. She retains her exclusivity yet is not oblivious to the larger realities that circumference her.
MESSAGE BY THE JURY
Professor Shukla Sawant
JURY, All India Women Artists’ Contemporary Art Exhibition 2016
A journey beyond boundaries
It had been a while since I visited Chandigarh and so the invitation to be a jury member of the annual Artscapes exhibition, held specifically to promote the work of women artists, was indeed a great pleasure. As I caught the early morning train from Delhi to Chandigarh, I had ample time to ruminate over the many fruitful encounters I had, over the years, with women artists, cultural activists, art historians and curators hailing from this vibrant city. And indeed there are many young women who began their careers in this city and subsequently came to occupy very prominent positions within the art world nationally and some even went on to achieve international acclaim. Chandigarh is after all a site where the idea of modernity as a completely fresh beginning took root in the 1950s through an architectural engagement and built form. It is therefore important to note that the foundation for the future career graph of many figures such as Pooja Sood, Bhavana Kakkar, Aastha Chauhan, Vibha Galhotra and Manmeet Devgun was laid in this city. Additionally, it is also the city that became the creative ground for the eminent theatre personality Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry, to make an international impact. Moreover, when one reads the history of modernism in India, unlike the west where every movement is seen to have been helmed by a male artist, almost all historians of modernism in India have highlighted the role of Amrita Sher-Gil in giving the movement a great impetus and she too, as we know, spent a formative part of her life not too far from Chandigarh in Shimla.
But as feminist art historians have pointed out, this intellectual and creative position has little to do with an essentializing biological understanding of what it means to be a woman. As many have argued, more often than not, it is the social circumstances within which women find their foothold that often determines the life choices they make.
Therefore the role of Artscapes, a non-profit, non-government organization in providing alternative life choices to empower women is indeed laudable. For the last several years, providing a platform of solidarity with women from across the country, the organization has succeeded in making an important mark. For often, the lack of visibility after graduating from art programs in universities means there is little room for professional advancement as commercial galleries do often not give space to new talent. It is therefore indeed laudable that Artscapes has consistently hosted this juried exhibition to bring to the fore the expressive voices of women.
This year, the work on view, was indeed quite representative of diverse cultural and social circumstances within which women make a place for themselves as creative individuals. Encompassing a wide range of mediums and scale —from the ambitious multi coloured graphic to metal casts, painting, photography and carving, the works also exhibited a broad choice of thematic concerns, from universal concerns over the environment, human-animal balance and social upheavals, to the more intimate themes of love, longing and despair. Some works exhibited exceptional originality in their execution and imagery and were given awards, but this is not to say that the other shortlisted works lacked merit. However, an awareness of contemporaneity and conceptual sophistication, was an essential factor in deciding which work stood out from the other and was therefore worthy of special recognition. It is also important to note that many of the participants came from small towns with little access to exhibitory circuits and this is clearly indicative of the outreach efforts of Artscapes to reach out to the most distant parts of the country. Given the paucity of such efforts, the journey of Artscapes is indeed remarkable and one hopes that the organizers find greater success in the years to come.
MESSAGE BY VICE CHANCELLOR
Prof Arun K. Grover
Vice Chancellor, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India
Make art an intrinsic part of our lives
The importance of art in life can never be emphasized enough, as it enriches an everyday mundane existence while taking the mind to the finer aspects of being. Thus, we need to consciously make art an intrinsic part of our lives. The Panjab University has played a significant role in this endeavour through its faculty of Design and Fine Arts that includes apart from the study of visual arts the study of the performing arts – music and theatre. And among one of the jewels in the University’s crown is the Museum of Fine Arts that is unique as being the only modern art museum in a university in the country, which also has over the years brought the works of significant artists to the city through the exhibitions organised in the museum by the Department of Art History and Visual Arts. As part of this regular enriching of the cultural space in the university and the city it gives us great pleasure to welcome the 5th edition of the All India Women Artists’ Contemporary Art Exhibition in the Museum of Fine Arts. A collaboration of Artscapes with the Department of Art History and Visual Arts this exhibition has made a mark for itself in the annual calendar by virtue of being one of the largest exhibitions of women artists and for providing a platform to young and upcoming artists from all parts of the country. I wish great success to this exemplary venture for the present and the future.