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Title:        "Outward & visible signs of an inward & invisible grace" Group show of Chanda Vaze, Pritam Bhatty & Ratna Gupta

Dates:      22 - 28 September 2008

Galerie Roman Rolland, Alliance Francaise, 72, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi-65

Chanda Vaze went back to painting after 23 years and has made a huge impact with a sell out show – “It stays in your body like a fat deposit !!” She was referring to her relationship with art, the inherent talent, honed for four years at Sir J.J.School of Art, that lay dormant but simmering thought this long period of ennui.

Says Chanda “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!!!”

Deep in the resonance of an inward journey Pritam Bhatty grapples with the paradoxes that crowd her life. Her painterly quest enters subliminal dimensions where the unreal strongly tilts into the real unleashing a stream of memories, events, fantasies, hallucinations and magical transformations. The fragility and strength of these shifting perspectives metamorphose the psyche and inundate Pritam’s creative matrix. Her painterly eye tracks these transformations within the inner and outer layers of her being. Working in water colours, charcoal and pencil Pritam captures the epiphany of the fleeting images that surface within her.

Ratna conceived these self casts with an acute consciousness of the construction of the female form as surface and image. She uses her own body as a starting point in bringing up perceptions of the feminine self. By turning her won body into her work, she is, in one sense, returning to the Renaissance aesthetic that held the body as the centre of the universe, but in the same gesture she also reclaims the objectifying gaze, making the body both experience and metaphor. Opting to cast her body as opposed to sculpting it, she uses it to take am imprint treating it as a repository of content memories, stories, the residual effects of time, age, and habits. The pain involved in the rather arduous process of casting contributes to the cathartic, sublimational aspect of this process of vitalization. The ritual of casting her own body mimics the larger desire for transformation/re-invention, the multi-fragements indicate an acceptance of seeing the self as many-minded and protean. By remaking / re-presenting herself she frees herself from her own image

In opting to cast her body in many fragments as opposed to sculpting it, Ratna speaks about vulnerability, retaliation and affirmation; she plays with the narcissistic gaze, while deliberately getting away from herself, looking at herself as an outsider. Pritam’s works enter spaces where the unreal strongly melds into the reality of fantasies, memories, events, dreams, magical transformations with the inner and outer layers of her being. In Chanda’s work surface the memories, stored like a fat deposit of images, moments, events to be savoured once again.

In all the working of these three artists what stands out is the outward and visible signs of inward and invisible grace.


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