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Expressing ideas differently

`Exhibition A', a maiden effort by Lekha Washington presents art from a unique perspective. Each sculpture is personal yet profound in meaning.

LEKHA WASHINGTON'S maiden exhibition appropriately titled `Exhibition A' is sure proof of her creative talent. A student of Fine Arts at Stella Maris College, her oeuvre on display includes remarkable sculpture and traditional two-dimensional art such as portraits. Lekha's sculptures take on a dramatic character both in the illustration of a concept and her resourceful use of material. Her creative expression is almost boundless with varied ideas being explored in different media. A wide-ranging assortment of materials such as resin, acrylic, terracotta, glass, mirror, cloth, sheet metal, steel gauze and M-Seal give concrete expression to her original ideas. Material neither restricts nor constrains her, but rather opens her to novel ideas. She feels her inspiration is inspiration itself, with her works best left to be interpreted by the viewer. She would prefer to refrain from giving titles to her works as she feels that this will limit the viewer's experience of her artistic expression. The works are indeed starting points for innumerable thought sequences. Each sculpture is personal yet profound in meaning, while each concept is different allowing the viewer to variously interpret the work. Her varied sources of inspiration are evident in the sculptures themselves. `Clawse' draws inspiration from the best-selling `Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone', while `Conception' grew out of an attempt to fry eggs. The latter work takes on a deeper significance in the manner in which the egg represents conception and birth, while a pair of broken spectacles symbolises old age and the inevitable death. Birth and death are threaded together by what is immensely recognisable as a human figure signifying the journey of life. The very notion of Conception is dramatised by the poetic rendering of the idea. Lofty thoughts accompany many of the art works revealing another of her passions, poetry. A favourite with most viewers is `Whoosh', which may indeed be read as an allegory of the water situation in Chennai... An inspired creation using resin, PVC pipes and enamel paint its appeal probably lies in the readily identifiable situation where the recent rains theoretically spell an abundant water supply that rarely translates into actual fact. There is a preference for anatomical allusions to illustrate concepts, with many of the representations including mainly hands and feet as in `Fluidity' and `Left footed' among others. `Hand poured out of a jug' has a peculiar delicacy and sensibility. Using resin to its advantage, life seems to take form, to be shaped from the infinite and yet conveys a sense of the ephemeral. The imaginative manipulation of satin to create `Folds' is an artistic rendering of the human face. The cloth takes form, yet simultaneously unravels itself, possibly seeking to speak of transience. These dramatically expressive works seem to allude to her love for and involvement in theatre. Their effect however was underplayed by the initial unimaginative display, which was remedied for the last day of the show. The exhibition held for a week at Lalit Kala Akademi was inventive and thought provoking. Artists seek the expression of their own personalities in their art, and this is easily exemplified in Lekha's vivid yet poetic works. She has tried to give Chennai a fresh perception of sculpture and has done a fine job of it.

SWAPNA SATHISH

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