When I thought of featuring My Dear Artists for the first time, the aim was to proclaim my awe and respect towards my friends, or associates, who turned out to be amateur artists – and very good at that, and whom I met through professional or personal channels that had nothing to do with art. As it turns out these days, internet is prevailing over even my own little privy hall of fame, and I sometimes wish to include names, with whom I have not shared a smoke, or a trek, or a day out to an exhibition; but whom I nevertheless like to think of as my associates, or more precisely web-associates, whom I have met through social networks or blog surfing. Finding a new artist – irrespective of her already existing fame or the lack of it – in a remote blog or a deviantART page or such like, following an artist’s work over months in the web, suddenly stumbling upon her work in a physical space – a magazine, or a gallery with a flash of recognition – a combination of all this gives me such a high!
Sudha Pillai and her scribbles have been a source of great joy to me for the last few months. Journalist, writer, photographer, audio-visual medium expert Sudha currently is the Features Editor at Bangalore Mirror (Times Group) and a voracious scribbler through one of her Facebook pages.
Last December, couple of her pieces – `Burden’ and `Mundane’ got me hooked to her page. `Burden‘ was a depiction of a squatting man with a hundred cobblestones closing in upon him from top – but with a hint of an upward gaze from below his hat – as if he has not entirely submitted to the crushing weight. `Mundane‘ was a checker-board decorated by trios of two adults and a child in each box with permuting genders – accompanied with the caption : It is the same with daddy-mommy, daddy-daddy or mommy-mommy. Which country allows a child to make such a decision on her own? Not ours!
Here is Iron Chanu Sharmila –
The narrative style and the strong, intricate lines in grey-scale in her drawings are confident and cognizant. It is often clearly a voice of a journalist – touching on issues such as yet another outburst of AAP racism by poet-leader Kumar Vishwas in Black and White or MP Home minister’s comment on safety of women in Chennai in relation to the amount of their body being exposed in public in White ribbon, harassment of artist Balbir Krishan for being queer in Hangmen etc.
On the recent Birbhum Kangaroo court case –
But what naturally attracts me most to her voice, is a blatant demand of just and equality for women. Majority of her work, which evolved from what initially looked like a beautiful hobby to the level of complete professionalism (with age, I am learning to use that word as a compliment) in past few months, are based on
- objectification of woman body (Desire, Her body, her own),
- abuse (Enough enough enough, Broken but – ),
- everyday insecurities of women inflicted by the society and herself (Alone in a crowd, The female gaze) that any contemporary woman would identify with, and
- women solidarity and empowerment (Standing tall against all odds, On Christmas – three queens visit a baby)
The following one is a particular favourite of mine – because it is beautiful, and also I would like to think – because of being a student of V. S. Sunder – the wheelchair-revolutionary mathematician :
Can images be described in words, in captions? Can one learn a dance or a sports without actually moving a limb? Why do I try to do the same here for many of her pieces! This touches a tragic chord known as intellectual property (IP) rights, for most of the scribbles have already been sold out for personal collections. Generally in a situation like this, I would have liked to suggest – dear artists and buyers, make your creations and purchases available – in low-res., if you please – with a (c) for the artist and possibly a (b) for the buyer, for the rest of the global (a)udience, so that all the parties involved can achieve their chosen share of possession, appreciation and web-immortality – everything that we all crave for in some or other form. However in this case, it would be easier for an interested art appreciator to make herself available on Fb and explore Scribbles by Su (strongly recommended). And while at it, why not also take a look at White Clouds to check her other interests out – writing, photography and what nots…
In spite of the disagreeable IP rights, when an artist comes forward to make her art available to the web-audience, a warmth glows with full spectrum of the colours of life, through the fragmented world of rights and wrongs – blacks and whites – as I relish the thrill that the artist I admire so, in turn admires an artist I have admired since forever I started looking at paintings at all. Thanks and cheers to Frida and Sudha –