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Saying it with flowers

Gogi Saroj Pal's recent works use the traditional art of phulkari to revisit her past


IN HER recent set of paintings, well-known artist Gogi Saroj Pal uses phulkari as a tool to creatively revisit her past. Phulkari, or embroidery of flowers, is a traditional form of expression sustained and nurtured by women. And Gogi's series of paintings is a tribute to the anonymous women artists who gave a creative visual expression of life and universe with needle and thread.

The paintings have the woman embroidering on her own body, and in the process, embellishing it with her thoughts and dreams, which often take the shape of clouds, stars, moon, sun, and foliage. Her luminous and supple (though somewhat bulky) figure is mainly seen in a seating position, but the more attractive feature is the expressive face. The paintings are quite cheerful, even if the mood changes to something more sober and serious at times.


A smaller body of about half a dozen works sights the same woman in flight, with colourful wings flapping on her sides. In an accompanying set of paintings, which the artist calls These Flowers Are For You, Gogi's style becomes significantly different. Here, the face of the woman comes to sharper focus even as it stands camouflaged with richly hued and vibrant flowers. This group of works emerges far more eloquently than the phulkari series, thanks to the mood and rendering. The best, however, seems to be another group of paintings where Gogi revisits some of Amrita Shergill's works, and in doing so, creatively crafts her own interpretation, with feeling and sensitivity. Unlike the other series, the woman here is not seen in isolation, but as part of a small group. Composed brilliantly, the expressive faces and bearing of women result is haunting and evocative images.

(The exhibition of Gogi Saroj Pal's works, Embroidering Flowers And Memories, is at Crimson Art Gallery, Safina Plaza, till April 10.)

ATHREYA

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