Thursday, April 3, 2014

Colours of a New Dawn

What happens when the vision sees beyond the layers of glass? It gives birth to an artist. The same vision has bore the artist long hidden within Sravanthi Juluri.

“There is no must in Art because art is free,” said legendary Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky. And if something has become synonymous with this quotation it is a mélange of different oeuvres that artist Sravanthi Juluri presents on her canvas. From inside the crevices of light bursts open a linguistic map of colours that is so different in every curvature of the lines thickening or taking new shapes when it is seen without the veil of brush strokes that the artist has been using digging deep inside her own soul. She recently held an art exhibition titled ‘The Journey of a Butterfly’ at Goethe Zentrum.

Brush with colours

Art is not made, it is born. Sometimes a dot falls and the artist becomes of that place. This is precisely how the journey of Sravanthi can be depicted. A queer child that she was, she always wanted to do things differently. It was when she was in Berkley that she had the epiphany and realized Art is her vocation. “I was having coffee and saw two men carrying a huge sheet of blue glass to ‘Stain Glass Garden’. The light pierced it and broke into a thousand splintering gems. I felt transported inside an atomic cosmos. It drew me to the institute where I learnt stain glass painting,” beams the artist adding that glass is conglomeration of everything. It is made from sand symbolizing the creation of human being – different human traits, and its final mingling with dust.  

The lost symbols

If Mallarme and Baudelaire culminated raw ideas into symbolism, Shravanthi emerged as an accomplished artist whose genius reflects in the frequent symbols of leaves and butterflies that she uses as mark of freedom. Her paintings liquefy a topography with different themes appearing as scarlet dots that enlarges as the vision shifts to the irregular splotches in darker shades that are none other than the expanding tissues of  womb in whose rupture glitters streams of Life in threads of trickling paint – bare flashes of Hope that flickers and disappears in the swiping flood of Modern Age. 

Kāli as source of inspiration

A red bindi gleams on Sravanthi’s forehead almost like sunrise – source of energy and flamboyance. She adores the hidden power inside every woman. That’s how she reaches out to the fair sex through her canvas. The use of red and yellow in her abstracts are symbolic of splashes of vermilion and turmeric used in worshipping goddesses. “I celebrate the deity inside a woman through these colours,” she adds. Kali, for her, is the perennial source of energy of what is unknown. She uses it as the reflection, creation, destruction and many other themes that are intertwined with the cycle of Nature and psyche’s perception of the same. 

A humanist and not the feminist

As an artist she makes best use of her canvas for depicting the rights of women, the sufferings that they go through.  She did a series of paintings on honour killings by cutting headlines from newspapers and pasting the same on the canvas. “People’s memory is short. I wanted them to remember that this is happening all around them. They, too, can feel the cry of a suppressed woman,” broods Sravanthi. At the same time if she is asked to choose between Amrita Sher-Gill or Frida Kahlo, she would choose the latter. Reason being Kahlo’s complex symbolism she can identify herself and her art with.                                                     

Artist Vs- Politics

When the Picasso of India legendary M. F. Hussain had painted Indira Gandhi as goddess Durga he had created waves. Another lesser known similar thing happened in Calcutta Art circles when artist Suvaprassana celebrated Mamata Banerjee on his canvas. The artist stands face to face with politics, but Sravanthi has a different take on it, “That time of Hussain was different. Many can find their inspiration in political figures. But I won’t paint any politician especially the kind of political potboilers we see coming up almost every day in myriads of forms – almost like corporate lobbying.” She signs off, “I don’t feel there’s much value in supporting political values.”

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