Expressions of strength

Expressions of strength

Art and installations by students of JN School of Art displayed during Mirchi 2019 made strong statements on abuse, breaking stereotypes and promoting inclusiveness

Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University (JNAFAU), Hyderabad recently celebrated 'Mirchi 19- The Art Hungama', the first ever art fair by the students of the Department of Painting and Art presented by "Out of the Box" (OTB), an initiative for creative thinking of students.

As a part of the fair, students displayed art installations that made strong statements on breaking gender stereotypes, LGBTQ rights and inclusiveness.

One such installation 'Red' by two young artists Sahithi Kalyanam and Vismaya Vasudevan , 2nd year students portrayed the emotions that a human being goes through and the many voices that are out there loud and yet being ignored from ages – voices of women, their fight for identity, against stereotyping, stigmas, child abuse, body shaming and even male voices that constantly struggle to be heard.

The girls have used triangular red (the colour of love and power as it is of violence and danger) cloth flags hanging all around, throwing shadows and there is a gramophone stuck in its time and the continuous glitch heard in the background creates an intense creative expression. This supported by pictures of boys and girls with painted backs makes for a provocative picture.

Sahithi and Vismaya talk about their idea, "Inspiration can strike anywhere and anytime. For us I think it was our tour to Ajanta and Ellora caves. That place had a vibe, a vibe that would just blow your mind.

We were full of energy and inspiration. Both of us have similar ideas and many things in common. We had multiple ideas flowing and we reached to one idea and collaborated to make it more powerful."

The process of installation is the biggest task, says Sahithi, "In installations, space makes a lot of difference and composing it in an aesthetically and conceptually right way is important."

"Displaying body takes courage and boldness; it would make a powerful impact and would reach out to people. We took social issues as theme when we painted. We took the themes like child abuse, female foeticide, stereotyping men, labelling and gender discrimination," says Vismaya.

"Similarly, we wanted to break the traditional pattern of hanging artwork on the walls, so instead we hung them up from the ceiling to strings," they add.

Art is something that people love to see and perceive, it also creates a great bridge between the art work and perceiver. Sahithi and Vismaya say, "We thought why not make serious art, about what is happening around us, the unfairness and the ill-side of the society.

It would move people emotionally and make them aware of what is going on around them. It was definitely a sensitive topic to work on, but art needs sensitivity and we wanted to show people a way to let go of everything they have been going through. After all, we are all humans and we need to be there for one another."

They took five days to complete the whole work; they worked on the installation and body painting alternatively. "The 'Mirchi 19' art fair was an entirely new experience for us.

It created a platform for us to experiment on the kind of work we personally would like to do. And, also, the artists and art enthusiasts had a lot to share and tell us. We got great exposure to the current art society.

Everybody has had something new to do and show. Suddenly the college had an amazing vibe," these girls says with excitement.

"We would love nothing more than thanking our Principal Srinivas reddy, Head of the Department PritiSamyukta and our very helpful faculty for guiding us through," they add.

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