Bengaluru’s Gallery Sumukha is presenting ‘Gazing into the Myth’

KOLKATA: Bengaluru’s Gallery Sumukha is presenting ‘Gazing into the Myth’, a solo exhibition of renowned Indian artist Jayasri Burman, whose works draw from Indian mythology and folk tales, often celebrating the empowerment of women through the traditional language of the sacred in Hinduism. The exhibition is the first solo show of the artist in China and will run from 20 to 23rd March 2014 at the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre.

An internationally collected Indian painter, hailing from an artistic lineage, Burman is known for her paintings that are contemporary narrations of popular Hindu mythologies. Her paintings depict the gods and goddesses of Hinduism and the divine tales of love and loneliness. Re-interpreting traditional legends through the lens of contemporaneity, Burman breathes new life into the stories by creating a sense of relevance to our times.

Burman’s works exude a dream-like, lyrical quality with a unique sensitivity. Deities under her paintbrush are often portrayed in an elaborately picturesque setting, featuring lush environments rich in fauna and flora. The mythical icons seem more human than holy in opposition to the traditional depictions by artisans. In Burman’s works the protagonists enjoy the surroundings peacefully, with animals such as swans and birds gliding at free will amid plentiful floating lotus blossoms. The darkness of life that is associated with some of the deities is replaced with positivism through a color palette predominately in red that exudes dynamism and energy.

The role and importance of women is central to Burman’s practice with the majority of deities depicted being goddesses, such as Mother Goddess Durga or Goddess of Knowledge Saraswati. Instead of the demure and submissive image of women that is traditionally entrenched in Indian culture, her heroines are modern in their outlook and demeanor conveying strength of character and grace. Gorgeously draped in gauzy sarees and adorned with exquisite jewelry at all times, they are masters of their own universe.

Burman steers a sophisticated course through the waters of representation, decoration and abstraction. To achieve vivid portrayals of the deities, she has developed an effective use of watercolours, pen and ink, with hues that echo indigenous organic pigments. Strong clear lines and flat colours with marginal shading, as practised in pre-colonial Indian paintings, are seen in Burman’s works. Scratchings of the Rotring pen on a vibrantly coloured surface create a contemporary temperament, which is enhanced by wavy ornate lines and figurative patterns. The backgrounds create a tapestry of dense patterns culled from a wide range of decorative designs, giving the painting a sense of richness in texture.

With the exhibition held in the same month as International Women’s Day, ‘Gazing into the Myth’ is not only an eye-opener for contemporary audiences into the mythical realm of Indian culture, it is also a timely opportunity to share Burman’s fresh perspective on the role of women in society.

Source: Economic Times