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Title:        "It stays in your body like a fat deposit!!!" Solo show of chanda Vaze

Dates:      25th March - 8th April2008

I stood cowering at The Jehangir Art Gallery surrounded by my work. It was my third show after graduating from Sir J.J.School of Art. As I watched a whole lot of strangers looking at my work I felt completely desolate. The work was dark, touching upon a sense of alienation, loneliness and discomfort. People who were looking at it wore either a somber or a bored expression and I wondered where was the joy, either in my viewers or in me? Somewhere along the way through Art School, shows, participating or hoping to participate in different art events, I had lost the element of fun, light heartedness. Day in and day out I was locking myself in my studio, contacting my own negativity, pouring it out on paper, canvas and copper plates. Art had become an obsessive disorder for me. I was cutting myself off from life.

Rest of the time I apologized.

I apologized to friends for not going shopping with them. I apologized to family members for not going out with them. I apologized to senior artists when they did not respond to my work, I apologized to my artist friends when I sold my work. I apologized for not having strong socio-political views. For not having in-depth understanding of Marxist theories, feminism, poverty, state of the nation. I apologized because I loved Sholay and was not dependent on Art for my livelihood and I also apologized for the fact that my pursuit of Art was putting financial and emotional pressure on my husband. AND I was not about to apologise for truly wanting to enjoy my beautiful daughter, spend time with her rather than delve deep into the recesses of my complex pessimism. That is when, at the gallery surrounded by my work of long, lonely hours I decided that my life was going to be bigger than Art. I was not rejecting Art and the Art world; I was rejecting me, my relationship with Art. I rejected the growing feeling within me that if someone rejected my work they were rejecting me. I was offering a constant window to peep through to only that part of me which was more interested in being depressed than being happy. I did not touch paints or brushes for 23 years.

As suddenly as I stopped I began again. Getting to know a whole new generation of artists who were doing their own thing with such gusto, opened up something in me. Here were people who were breaking boundaries, traveling the world with their money (not waiting for grants from ICCR), using state of the art computers, cameras and equipment with ease. Not apologizing.

Somewhere along the line my relationship with painting had healed. Once again I was willing to experience the thrill of the first contact of the brush on white untrodden canvas. I was willing to allow myself the thrill of recreating a random image of no great political consequence. I restarted a dormant relationship because it had stayed in my body like a fat deposit!!!

I admit, unabashedly, that hoardings influence me. So does advertising, MTV, mainstream cinema, The Tango and the Salsa, and I am NOT apologetic anymore. I have enjoyed learning Yoga sutra as much as I enjoyed learning to jive (Tango is next). I have fabricated soap opera stories for my husbands TV production house and enjoyed doing ICSE projects with Chinu. I enjoy seeing a Fendi bag being carried by those who know fashion as much as I enjoy seeing “Waterlillies” and “The Pieta”. I love the Mumbai skyline. I love the work people do for street children in Mumbai. I love the way my city has a buzz about it, inspite of all odds. I love to hear “Strangers in the Night” when I do my Tango couples. Young people yearning for romance touches me. It finds its way into my imagery. All this, against the constant backdrop of the city and the mountains in the distance. Both neither wanting nor giving.

This show for me is simply learning to walk tall, to do what I love doing, to be whole. To do it with no apologies!


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