All India Women Artists’ Art Exhibition 2013
2nd All India Women Artists’ Contemporary Art Exhibition 2013 was held on March 25, 2013. It was inaugurated by Manish Tewari, Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Govt of India. All the artists as well as art lovers came on a common platform to exchange creative ideas and promote the cause of women empowerment. A number of artworks were showcased which were scrutinized by Jyotika Sehgal and Dr. Amrit Bolaria. Johny ML marveled at the creativity of artists.
MESSAGE BY CHIEF GUEST
Minister of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, New Delhi, INDIA
Art plays an important role in the development of mankind. The language of art is universal. Everyone, irrespective of age, nationality and occupation understands what is said by an artist. Art provides the avenues for redirecting the unconscious impulses in the sea of creativity and reorganizing them leading to novel creations. Art brings out the innate creative potential of even the uninitiated. It enables an imaginative flight to a different world altogether. In essence art captures the very spirit of life. One may come across a masterpiece which provides one an opportunity to introspect, thereby bringing one closer to self.
With a 5000-year-old culture, Indian Art is rich in its tapestry of ancient heritage, medieval times, Mughal rule, British rule, Progressive art and now Contemporary art. Today many artists are producing great works of art and exhibiting them abroad. Most Indian paintings are finding buyers in other countries. The uniqueness of Indian Art still lies in its rich cultural heritage.
A major challenge however remains in bridging the gap between artists and art lovers. The advent of technology especially Social Media is addressing this concern to an extent. Social media have an impact on the arts from at least three different perspectives. They help bring audiences to performances and to artworks by matching art to people who are looking for it, they provide a platform to create art and to engage in debate and dialogue around communities of interest and they give organizations tools to listen to the public and build arts awareness.
I am given to understand that ARTSCAPES is providing a platform to bring together women artists from across India through their exhibition on Contemporary Art.
It is important that the precious works of talented Artists reach the admiring eyes and any endeavor in this direction needs to be appreciated.
I sincerely wish ARTSCAPES all success in their Endeavour to organize confluence of talent from all over the country. I am confident that this innovative activity will be replicated in the future also.
MESSAGE BY ART CRITIC
Art Critic, Curator and Writer
A variety of concerns, thinking modes, visual expressions and mediums inspires the woman artists of this country. Perhaps ‘inspire’ is a wrong word to qualify their works because in fact these varieties ‘provoke’ them to do their works. That however does not mean that the works of art done by woman artists are always ‘reactions’ and ‘responses’ to whatever happens in and around them. They are not reactionaries in that sense. But they do respond through their respective mediums of art, especially when they are incapacitated by their predefined social roles, values attributed to their gender and above all the demands that a male oriented society place on them. Though woman artists do their creative works from a whole range of restrictions and constraints, looking at the works presented here one could very well see how they are absolutely free when they create their works. The total engagement with the subject matter and critical interpretations of the existing modes, and last but not the least, the verve to carry forward the artistic traditions irrespective of their gender orientations make these women artists relevant and worth pursuing in the coming years.
Artscapes’ annual venture to find out the young and upcoming woman artists of this country is much laudable because it gives an opportunity for many of those young women who live across our vast country to show their works to eminent art personalities followed by the exhibition for a larger public. As a male art critic, I hold myself back from using the words like ‘charity’, ‘noble cause’ and ‘uplifting of woman artists’ etc not only because I would sound politically incorrect in saying so but also because I imagine, believe in and aspire for a society where women from all the walks of life live in equality, freedom, rights and justice. I deem such artistic efforts are vigorous steps towards establishing such a free society though, considering our present socio-political scenario it would take a bit more time than expected. However, our striving for a futuristic society cannot be put onto the backburner. When I look at the works presented in this annual competition and exhibition, I feel that with each passing year, the woman artists in our country are getting more and more intellectual and technical powers to achieve such a wonderful society.
I would like to look at the works presented here with a pair of eyes that is directed by a sense of equity than the idea of competition. From the work that has been awarded with the first prize to the merit awardees in the list and unto the rejected ones I find the potential of our future art scene where the works of woman artists are looked at, appreciated and promoted not just for their gender related powers but for the intrinsic values of their art itself. While going through the works of these young woman artists, I could see how they have come out of their closets and have created works that could deal not only with romantic fantasizing but also with socio-political realities and science fiction. But they are done on purpose, as I mentioned before, they are done with a sense of continuity. What has been said to be the male bastions so far have been rendered generic and inclusive by the woman artists of this country. But what makes their works distinct is the subtle voices (and a times shrill too) of resistance and defiance. When a young artist paints an alien running over the high rise buildings and almost erasing them, she suggestively mocks the hegemonic imaginations of the powerful male world that through science fictions mould the future minds of ‘their’ boys. When another young artist deals with the fashion industry bringing forth the mythological reference to the original sin, in a way she redeems the woman from being the instigator and throws the question up to the male world that has created such myths for its convenience.
As I mentioned in the beginning of this short essay, the variety of visual and creative engagement is what makes these young woman artists interesting. Furthermore, they do not operate from a vacuum. They are aligned to both the oriental and the occidental art histories. Besides, they are aware of the art history of our own immediate past which could be called as the national art history. From this allegiance comes the continuity of visual strategies, their re-interpretations and re-employments in their own works. This continuity is important because if one militantly says that the woman artists could operate from an absolutely sanitized zone without any traces of male oriented art history it would be fanatical. Continuities are important not just to prove the worth of the woman artists to ‘handle’ the male aesthetics but it is pertinent to historically and politically engage with the larger milieu of visual culture that has conditioned the very aspect of viewing the works of art created by women. I would be all the more happy the day when woman artists make references to exclusive feminine and feministic art histories as they could establish a referential zone for themselves in a strong way; but at the same time realistically .
I tend to believe that at some point there would be convergences and divergences, even competitions with the other gender because it is from this conflict there originates stronger ideas of evolution and progress. I am sure that conflict will not be drastic but creative and rejuvenating for one and all.
Vice Chancellor, PU
Art is interesting and inspiring at the same time. Artscapes, a non-profit, non-government organization, provides a platform to foster excellence in various dimensions of art. They envision a future where artists, art lovers, art students and critics are part of one big chain. Keeping in mind the present day challenges in art, expecially the void that exists between artists and art-lovers, Artscapes aims to make all possible efforts to bring artists from various various states and countries together to create present and promote art. What is heatening to note is that they are especially committed to the cause of women and helping out talented artists who rarely get an opportunity to showcase their talent due to circumstances and other factors.
The beautiful Fine Arts galleries of Panjab University Museum have excellent collection of some of the outstanding artists of independent India, which include the works of M.F. Hussain, Satish Gujral, Ram Kumar, Krishan Khanna, K.K. Hebbar, Akbar Padamsee, Laxmi Pai etc.
I hope the visitors to the Campus would have an occasion to view the archivial collection of the gallery. Eminent men, like, Dr Mulk Raj Anand, Dr Hazari Prasad Dwivedi & Dr B.N. Goswamy have been associated with our University.
The events like the present one ought to be viewed as a progression of the rich tradition we have inherited.
My greetings to the organizers on this occasion and best of luck for this venture as well as all for future projects.
Dr Amrit Bolaria
Former Member Art and Culture Committee, Chandigarh Administration
Separating the grain from the chaff needs a lot of effort, but once the process is over the results are indeed worth all the effort. Artscapes afforded an opportunity wherein initial entries for the All India Women’s Exhibition 2013 were to be scanned and the best among the lot were to be chosen. It was a proud moment to judge so many upcoming artists from the wonderful talent pool available in the country.
I would like to thank Artscapes for trusting my abilities and providing me the honour. I wish them all the success in the times to come.
Dr. VANDNA DEWAN
Dr. Vandna Dewan, a graduate from Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, worked with various organizations before joining as Consultant Voluntary Blood Donation in Chandigarh under the National Blood Transfusion Council and National Aids Control Programme, New Delhi.
She has remained instrumental in bringing about awareness regarding safe blood collection according to the protocol of National Blood Policy of Safe Transfusion Practices and Blood Safety. It is due to her sincere efforts that gradually Voluntary Blood Donation has gone up to 88% in Chandigarh.
During the last thirteen years, she has undertaken trainings as Deputy Director in State Aids Control Society and in conducting surveillance to evaluate ‘Trends of HIV Epidemic in Chandigarh’.
Chandigarh has attained a stabilised status in HIV cases due to timely intervention and greater awareness among the residents towards this deadly disease.