Canvas for the homecoming

Jun 22, 2012, 07:08 IST | Soma Das

In her first solo exhibition, Titles Are Irrelevant, London-based artist Nandita Chaudhuri uses discarded jewellery, soda cans and coins to explore her feelings on returning to India. In the collection of works, the artist unites western techniques with the vibrant colours of her homeland

Artist Nandita Chaudhari admits that her mother, Bela Sarkar, played an integral role in her love for art. “My mother is an artist and my biggest inspiration. I grew up with the smell of paint all around,” she says, adding, “Today, she is an octogenarian, but continues to paint despite her reduced vision.”

Chaudhuri is in the city with her first solo exhibition, Titles Are Irrelevant. Explaining her choice of a title, Chaudhuri says, “Sometimes, titles are cheesy, or don’t encapsulate the thought process that is integral to their creation. Everything — people, objects or situations — is judged and labelled. An inevitable gap exists between the image and the viewer’s perception, and this gap is often lost in translation.”

The artwork made from 200 recycled soft drink cans

The exhibition includes a painting made from 200 recycled cans that Chaudhuri collected herself and used to create the unusual work. The artist juxtaposes paper clippings, discarded jewellery, coins, and images of deities to create her works.

Chaudhuri, who is a recipient of the Nehru Award for International Understanding and has spent over two decades in the UK, has a Masters in Fine Art from Camberwell School of Arts, London.

At present, she has a home and studios in London as well as Mumbai. Her works are known for their distinctive trans-national context and have been showcased around the world. The artist admits that belonging to diverse cultures has helped her work. “I have had mixed influences and dip into my life experiences for content,” she observes.

Chaudhuri had to start from scratch, when she started working, in London, two decades ago. “I had to unlearn everything and my works began to get edgy. Today, with a growing nomadic tribe there is recognition for trans-nationalism. In London we used to paint streets and create bold installations everywhere. I hope to be given the chance to enjoy that freedom here,” she adds.

In Titles Are Irrelevant, Chaudhuri has juxtaposed different content in the same frame. “In half of the works, I have used Western concepts and colours, and in the rest there are Indian iconographic references, and warmer colours,” she concludes.

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