Review by OiendrilaMoitra
April 01, 2013


Stree, Archetypes, Alterbodies
Sajitha R Shankar
March 8-20, 2013
IGNCA, New Delhi 

Visiting Sajitha Shankar+s exhibition +Stree+ in IGNCA is an experience in itself. The celebration of woman life, her birth and growth and establishment through the resists of the society, her dilemma of inner and outer existence all have been perceptually established in the works of Sajitha. Her two major series exhibited here, +Archetypes+ and +Alterbodies+ both concern the basic ideology of a struggle of a woman in establishing her inner diaspora and outer reality and her journey through the memory of existence.

+Archetypes+ is a series that revisits the female power in Indian myths, ancient literature and folklore. From Akka Mahadevi to Mother Roots, the female in the paintings autonomously emerges with their self-power, shaping an alternative existentialism from the mundane. Autobiographical responses are strongly induced in the paintings. The figures grow themselves from the nature with elemental structures and natural signatories, constructing into architectonic forms of power and self-completeness.

In one of her best work, +Akka Mahadevi+, the poetic divinity of Akka Mahadevi has been beautifully established. The rebellious intensity, lyrical depth and mysticism of the poet+s life and work has been beautifully portrayed in the painting, representing her as a purity of body and self, emerging from the nature as a figure of divinity and power, lyrically formed with jasmine flowers. She is self-illuminating, being one of the epitomes for establishing the female awakening in the patriarchal world of hindrances, by casting away the facades of appearances and by transcending gender and caste boundaries. In Sajitha+s paintings the body is establishing as a form in itself, self-defining and complete having signs and attributes of constructivism and creation.

Sajitha+s new series, +Alterbodies+ is a product of years of experimentation and alteration, a gradual evolution of the artistic realisation and growth from being just a visual translator to a voice of vibrant statement. Her works in this series are mostly autobiographical, realising woman being a representation of natural force establishing her in the masochistic society. Sajitha+s charcoal, etching and drawings are retransformation of poetry to visuals of self and surrounding understanding.  Sajitha as a female is tired of resisting the male gaze, giving her a feeling of a sheer physicality of a female body. But the body as a self-deducing elemental force have re-established itself as a source of energy and creativity. The body has its alternative possibilities, a metamorphosis of re-existing in the unknown, reaching out to new destinies.

Sajitha+s earlier works embodies the inexplicable capacity of the female body to effortlessly accommodate and express creativity, her later works grows freer in two ways: one by playfully introducing a kind of disorder into the concept and construct of the body and then by encountering her own body in the wilderness of emotional, intellectual and spiritual experiences. If her earlier works refer to her growth as an artist and have a poetics in them, her later works establishes herself as a complete visualizer and have more of a constructed story in them. -Stree+, female in Sanskrit, finds a completion of meaning in Sajitha+s exhibition, a completeness the viewer experiences completely.