Page 7 - Anjolie Ela Menon - Inner Vision
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and discipline. Anjolie is an artist who has   details. The painting has rich colours and depth   window  frames  within  which  she  creates  a   and showed them at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai.
 succeeded in preserving the authentic experience   especially on the skin of faces and bodies.  painting  with  small  blocks.  These  fit  into  each
 of her youth. Like a child she indulges in play,   window but together look like a painting itself.  She   While working on her book, Anjolie saw images of
 however almost making fun of her existential   Not only does the painting truthfully represent the   uses her painterly skills to create an undulated   her own work on the computer and one after
 anxieties.  Passionate  and  audacious,  she  casual and rustic image of the common folk but   vision, in such a way that the paintings and   another, the images came alive. From here, Anjolie
 recreates—in her own space and on her own   also conveys that modern Western culture has   jharokhas are in a perfect balance. The paintings   got the idea of creating digital works -
 terms—the lost world of childhood. Like a true   become a part of Indian life.  in the jharokhas are intimate domestic scenes and   Pentimentos - where she juxtaposed images and
 Bohemian, she paints with her whole soul,      interior composition with women behind torn   created a series of new works, which she partly
 mobilising the full power of her imagination. She   She focuses on the traditional aspects of formal   curtains with partly exposed breasts, a child, a   painted.
 penetrates the secret recesses of memory where   portraiture and even moreso on the development   parrot, a goat, a crow, a kite and various other
 the experiences and traditions of childhood await   of  her  technique.  Women  in  domestic,  ill-defined   objects that compose an ordinary household. Not
 the alchemical process that will bring them to the   settings, shown doing mundane jobs, the working   only does the jharokha painting truthfully   Glass Sculpture

 surface of her work, at the chosen moment, as a   class, crochet  table cloths, torn  curtains, goats   represent the casual and rustic images of the   Working with master craftsmen in Murano (Italy),
 fresh reality. Memories are never lost: they simply   and  the  omnipresent  crow  in  different  settings   Indian  masses,  but  also  conveys  Anjolie's   Anjolie created a range of chic glass sculptures
 lie dormant ready to be put to use, when required,   have become recurring subjects. There is a blend   fondness for depicting common people in her   that had religious icons, Shivlings, Ganeshas,
 and to enter into the creative moment.  of spontaneity and intimacy in her portraiture that   works. She says the jharokhas must have life and   Islamic calligraphy, Christian icons and a range of
 make the works engaging.  vitality in them. It must have certain pathos and   bowls with Hindu scripture. The exhibition was
 Anjolie’s break with the canvas is not a deliberate   warmth. The physical scale echoes the emotional   called Sacred Prism.
 attempt to reject art, but, as with every   Sometimes, the women’s eyes are deviating from   variety through bold compositions, appearances
 revolutionary advance, a rebellion against the   the audience staring at the ground, showing her   and a manifestation of Anjolie's unnerving artistic   Anjolie was the first Indian artist of her generation
 aesthetic status quo. Anjolie does not repudiate   nervous, shy and self-protected mentality. Apart   supremacy. The artist focuses most of her   to work in the Kitsch genre. She wanted to bring
 tradition, she simply cuts through it. Tradition for   from  the  deception  of  the  figure’s  characters,  it   attention on painting the eyes as she aspires for   calendar art into the mainstream and she created
 her is a storehouse of material waiting to be used,   may be an implicit representation of her poverty.   the  audience  to  experience  a  silent  an exhibition where she used gold embossed
 but the manner in which it will be used will be   Despite that there is a sense of calmness and ease   communication with her subjects. The gaze that   printing which she cut out from her Diwali cards.
 different.   in her eyes. More than just being splendid in the   occurs between the audience and the portraits   The exhibition was called Gods and Others and
 comparison of colours, brush strokes, figures and   conjures a vagueness whether the audience is the   was created in the Raja Ravi Varma style. She
 Anjolie’s portraiture of women is unique and   clothing, Anjolie touches the spirits of the figures   viewer or the ones being viewed.  decorated her subjects with kitsch elements and
 striking. She is truly a painter of women,   and  transfers  the  abstract  emotions  to  also used gold paint and foil.
 alternately  gracious and  moving,  knowing  and   coordinating concrete elements and rediscovers   After her husband retired, they settled down in
 simple, and always with an exquisite visual   the invaluable worth of humanity and life.  Delhi in Nizammudin and she set up her studio in   The art world is not for the faint hearted. Anjolie
 sensibility. Not only does she give a marvellous   the Nizammudin Basti. The imagery of the Basti   proved she could excel with decency and the rare
 sense of the physique, the delicate relief and   Anjolie’s nudes are warmer in palette and   keeps coming into her work. Goats, old men, parrot   quality of unshakable integrity. She has had the
 dazzling tones of young  complexities, she also   treatment. Atmosphere and form are realised   sellers, the derelict surroundings and the people of   attention of top collectors and gained their
 gives a sense of the soul, all women’s inner   through a softening of lines and tonal modelling,   Basti become her subjects.  confidence by being a consummate professional.
 musicality and bewitching mystery. Her figures are   ultimately creating an image of the female body   She is strong but never forceful and has stood her
 not frozen over by layers of paint - they are   that is naturalistic, graceful and sensuous. Once   Anjolie has worked in a wide variety of mediums   ground and created art that very few artists from
 animated and vivacious; singing out in a melody of   she achieves this, she deliberately downplays the   starting with jewellery. In the style and manner of   her generation have ventured into. She is an
 colours, bright tones and all the vibrations of light.  sensuousness by covering up the breast with a   miniature painters, Anjolie creates small miniature   impeccable perfectionist as well as a modest and
 thin muslin dupatta and adding other elements   portraits of 1 inch x 1 inch of women that she uses   forgiving  friend. The  Warhol-ian red  lipstick and
 Anjolie’s brush works like the scalpel of a surgeon,   such as tables, chairs, kites, crows, goats etc.  as pendants with precious and semi-precious   the ever present twinkle in her eyes is as
 gently crafting the ideal face she imagines. The   stones, painted in deep colours with gold. These   irresistible as her quick and generous smile. She is
 resulting image is one that conforms in the   Anjolie  also  created  a  significant  amount  of   pendants are unique to Anjolie and no other artist   an amazing cook, and sometimes I tease her about
 extreme to the beauty standards of Indian women.   landscapes. Her husband  who  was  in  the  Navy   of her generation has ventured into this kind of   whether she is a better cook or better painter. She
 She has elongated yet slim arms, a slender waist   was transferred to various naval bases all over   creativity.  is also an amazing packer, having moved house
 with voluptuous breasts. Her facial features are   India. They lived by the sea and often the table,   over 30 times during her husband’s Navy tenure.
 familiar but somehow cannot be placed in context.   chairs and fabrics that were left out to dry, kites in   While in Chennai, Anjolie was very keen to start   Above all she is a great human being, someone
 She is portrayed in a highly provocative and   the distant horizons and crows on the table,   painting.  Unfortunately  she  did  not  find  any   one can go to for advice on the most difficult of
 appealing manner with captivating eyes, sensual   created a landscape by the sea which she   canvas or board and a friend suggested that she   situations.  I  have  known  Anjolie  for  over  five
 lips and porcelain skin that are rendered with   reproduced. It was from here that her fascination   paint a cupboard, which she did and a new genre   decades and she has truly been an amazing
 considerable realism and artifice.  for chairs began and empty chairs kept coming   was born. So fascinated was Anjolie with the result   person. Our friendship has been pure, lasting and
 back into her paintings.  of the paint on the cupboard that she went to the   true.
 Through her adept and natural brush strokes, we   second hand furniture market and picked up all
 can see Anjolie’s accurate portrayal of the figure’s   Anjolie’s jharokhas are a unique combination of   kinds of tables, chairs, cupboards  and other
 characteristics without excess description of   paintings and found objects. She uses carved old   objects. She painted about fifty of these objects

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