Jayasri Burman, Srishti, acrylic on canvas, 96'' x 96'', 2022

Jayasri Burman
12 Jan – 28 Feb 2023

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Art Musings presents Dhārā, an exhibition that brings together recent works of renowned artist Jayasri Burman. One sees the influence of the rich cultural heritage of Bengal that is predominant in Jayasri Burman’s work. Fables and folk tales from her childhood creep into the narrative, which is full of myth and magic, rituals and festivals.  Jayasri Burman has evolved, over a period of time, an iconography that is saturated in the aura of Nature’s nurturing, sustaining, maternal capacities. She invests these capacities in the archetypal figure of the Great Mother, manifested as the Devi, the guardian of waters both still and flowing, attended by animals symbolically associated with fertility and plenitude. Her paintings have an altar-like quality, and depict Nature as divinity. This exhibition features a set of ideas that has absorbed Jayasri over the last several years: Birth, Nature, The Sacred Feminine. As the artist delves deeper into these concepts, there emerges a body of work, delicately nuanced and loaded with fine imagery.

Jayasri says about this body of works, “Birth is the beginning of life. The origin of a journey, from a mysterious somewhere. The Feminine creates the power to transform the present into the future. She knows she is the beginning and the end. Her mystery is ever-changing and beyond comprehension. There is nothing beyond her. She is the nurturer of the cradle of birth, this Earth. The Feminine is what carries away the suffering of the world, and weaves into it an enigmatic cleansing to return it to the world as life – the force of continuity. The earth carries in her soul the power of regeneration, ensuring the return of spring every year, the return of sleep, of rest, of peace. The world breathes out of her cornucopia of strength. That is what is essentially feminine.”

As part of this exhibition, Art Musings has published a monograph authored by poet and cultural theorist Ranjit Hoskote, featuring an essay along with some of the author’s poems, specially written in response to this body of works by Burman.

In the art of Jayasri Burman, nature is treated as a generative Feminine, a principle of creativity, a source of strength that can absorb all shock and trauma while yet expressing itself through a plenitude of organic expressions: an abundance of water, an efflorescence of plant forms, a diversity of animal life. In personifying these powers of primal regeneration, Jayasri reaches for the archetypes of the Devi in her various aspects, as Bhoomi or earth, Prakriti or nature, Srishti or the environment, Bija or seed. We have gathered all these aspects together, in this exhibition of new works, under the sign of Dhārā, which means flow, currency, fluency; a word that enjoys a pleasing and playful linguistic relationship with Dhara, the stable one who sustains all, another name for the Earth in the abundant Sanskrit repertoire.

Jayasri’s Dhārā summons us to an awareness of the vulnerability of a planet that has always given more than it has taken; a planet whose powers of self-regeneration we have taken cruelly for granted. In her evocations of nature as the Feminine, we may discern such mythic exemplars as the yakshi, the shala-bhanjika and the matrika, nature spirits who protect water sources, groves and the magic of language; we sense, in these compelling figures, the presence of the Devi. Through Jayasri’s forms of re-enchantment, we begin to make our way back to a more equitable and sustainable form of living with nature, living in nature, living as nature.”

(Excerpt from the monograph by Ranjit Hoskote)

IAF, Installation View - Shilo Shiv Suleman

India Art Fair
Various Artist
09 Feb – 12 Feb 2023

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Art Musings participated in the 2023 edition of the India Art Fair, Booth, showcasing works by 6 leading artists. The line-up included Sakti Burman, Baiju Parthan, Maya Burman, Gopikrishna & Shilo Shiv Suleman, along with a solo space displaying works by French artist Maïté Delteil.

Works by Indian master artist Sakti Burman featured a suite of small canvas paintings that seem to exist in a world of reverie and fantasia populated by mythic beings. Multi-media artist Baiju Parthan presented an immersive triptych, ‘A Rose is a Rose is a Rose’The artist used the quote as a springboard to make a philosophical reflection on three distinct spaces of world-views that are mutually exclusive, but overlap in our present everyday experience. France based artist Maya Burman’s watercolour panels, peopled by pneumatic figures, depicted in moments of play and festivity expressive of an abundant joie de vivre. Maya’s characters live in a dreamlike fairyland, rife with mythology and metaphor. A consummate storyteller, Gopikrishna peoples his surrealist universe with myriad creatures and characters, each conveying their own subtle wisdom. Gopikrishna’s vocabulary draws on a multitude of sources – on the occult manuscript, the folktale, the Tamil theatre backdrop, and the Kerala temple painting tradition. In a series of paintings and sculptures inspired by her time living in Balinese forests, artist Shilo Shiv Suleman reclaimed Eden as existing here on earth, in all its imperfections. Laced with medicinal plants, it reminds us of the alchemy of the earth. The archetypal images of Eden are immutable and everywhere- serpent, tree, fig leaf, fall.

Art Musings also presented a solo exhibit of Maïté Delteil, accompanied by a new book ‘As the Seasons Turn and Return, The Sky’, authored by Ranjit Hoskote. Maïté’s oil on canvas works play with scale, as she dwells on fruits, flowers, and birds with a miniaturist’s love of jewel-like detail. Maïté’s palette is scrumptious; glowing reds, pollen-bright yellows, candied pinks, lambent blues and succulent greens. These paintings emerge at the cusp between landscape and still life, between nature and nature morte. The book invites the reader into survey of Delteil’s practice, which now extends across seven decades, and celebrates the artist in her ninetieth year. Hoskote situates Delteil’s work in the contexts of the classical genres and their transformation, European modernism, and the transcultural experience of living and working both in France and India.