Creativity with confidence: how the Asmi exhibition showcased the talents of 30 women artists

In this photo essay, we feature a range of original works from the recent KCP exhibition, along with artist and curator insights on creativity, purpose, and inspiration.

Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 385 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath recently hosted an exhibition in Bengaluru, titled Asmi (‘strong, proud, confident’), featuring the diverse works of 30 women artists. Many of their artworks are featured in this photo essay.

“Art is not just about exploration or creativity but is meant to serve a purpose,” says Infosys engineer and artist Vyshali Acharya, in a chat with YourStory. She lost her father to cancer two years ago, and donates all her art revenues to help poor cancer patients.

“I work in the IT sector as a software engineer during weekdays, and I dedicate my weekends completely to art. I am able to balance this since I have a very supportive family and peaceful workplace,” she explains.

Vyshali has completed over 250 artworks over the years, priced from Rs 1,000 to Rs 30,000. She has exhibited her works on campus at Infosys as well.

“Since smartphones have decidedly made photography a whole lot more accessible, this might explain why hyper-realistic painting feels especially interesting and impressive these days,” she observes, as trends in art. She agrees with studies which show that art has the potential to impact a person's long-term happiness.

Vyshali has a group of artist friends who conduct workshops on weekends and help NGOs on initiatives like painting government schools. “For me, success is when I will be able to serve our society at my best,” she proudly says.

She encourages audience to expose themselves more to the multi-dimensionality of art, and also support artists by buying their works. At the Asmi exhibition, Vyshali showcased yakshagana painting from coastal Karnataka.

“Every artwork has soul, it’s up to individuals to connect to it. Art helps expand the boundaries of the imagination, and has healing power during busy and stressful periods,” says Vyshali.

“Art is beauty in the smallest of things in life. Art has vast meaning, beyond definition,” explains Milna Sajee, a full-time art teacher who has been painting since childhood. As trends in art today, she notices an abundance in depictions of religious figures.

“I am hoping that they reach the point of a more personal meaning rather than just delivery of what a vast majority of the public wants,” Milna says. “To me, success in art is personal satisfaction and inner peace with what has been created, as well as being able to make an impact,” she adds.

Milna’s artworks are priced from Rs 5,000 upwards. “Be true to yourself and don’t let the market define what you put out,” she advises aspiring artists. “And definitely practice,” she adds.

“Art is one's inner thoughts expressed without words, and devotion without prayer. It is so powerful that it can transform an individual,” explains Swaroop V, curator and artist.

Her artworks, priced from Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000, reveal a play of light and shade with effects of simplicity as well sophistication. For the exhibition, she displayed a series drawn with colour pencil on paper, embellished with multiple textures via burnishing and layering. Themes were centred around Hampi and Hoysala art.

“I have been a software consultant by profession for the last 20 years and artist by passion for the last 30 years,” Swaroop explains. After hectic 10-hour days, art is a way of unwinding and finding peace.

She has created over 100 artworks in various mediums and styles over the years. As trends in Indian art, she points to trans-disciplinary and cross-cultural amalgamation. “There is also a distinct focus on ultra realism and traditional art forms,” Swaroop adds.

She cautions that many rich traditional Indian art forms are “fast evaporating.” This calls for more artists and experts to conduct workshops, and also redefine art to keep pace with contemporary thinking.

“Success for me is internal passion and exploration. Recognition and accolades have helped boost my morale,” Swaroop says. To improve art appreciation in India, she calls on senior artists to encourage budding artists with an open mind.

“Many artists are lost in their own exploration. They should form open networks and promote youngsters,” Swaroop urges.

She also offers tips for budding artists. “Never stop aspiring. Success is defined by one’s own satisfaction. Enjoy every small milestone and move ahead with confidence,” she advises.

Swaroop says the exhibition drew a good response, with many visitors asking for custom art creation. Many first-timer artists asked for tips on improving their style and for commercial success.

“I got overwhelming comments. But that's not the end. I want to work harder to reach the peak. I want people to know me for my artworks, to understand art, and buy art,” says Sarbani Bose, artist and homemaker.

“I learnt long back that we are the medium for the divine. Art for me is an expression of what I understand, a creation from heart on canvas,” Sarbani explains. It takes a lot of practice and experience to develop one’s own style, along with learnings from senior artists, she adds.

Sarbani’s artworks at the exhibition featured Rabindranath Tagore and Mother Teresa. Her works are priced from Rs 50,000 Rs 75,000. She has won a range of awards and participated in exhibitions by Akanksha and Vasantha groups in Bengaluru, as well as Gandhi Art Gallery in Delhi and Vermezo Galeria in Budapest.

“Use your own imagination, don’t copy other artists. Bring out something new, think out of the box. Only then will the standard of art change and more people will appreciate art,” she advises aspiring artists.

“Just go with the flow. Art has many meanings just as a hand has many different-sized fingers. Practice makes perfect, so keep practicing,” Sarbani signs off.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule, and find ways to uncover and harness your real creative side?

Swaroop V

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