Understanding art, its meaning, and relevance through the works of emerging artists

Part two of this special art series features artists such as Shalini Vichitra, Anupama Alias, Prabhakar Alok, and Sudipta Das among others.

Harper's Bazaar India

Bazaar India invited some of the country’s most exciting, emerging Indian artists to showcase their work through a special commission for ‘The Art Issue’.

Shalina Vichitra

Testimony of Time – III, Acrylic and Mixed Media on Linen

“This canvas painting is from a series of chronicles that frame a piece of land, the markings on its surface, its layers, and patterns. The pieces are geographical annotations and recordings that address the fragile balance between the natural world and human interaction.

Growing up, relocating between cities is what bore the seed of my art practice. I was drawn to the idea of belonging to a space, a home, and what it truly means to a person. My work embodies the interplay between natural and man-made occurrences, and travelling to remote lands aids the visual and textural surface of my art, via tactile references. 

Art is intuitive; it helps me gauge my surroundings more objectively and imagine the existence of an individual in this expanse. Especially in today’s times, art allows us to process our experiences, and understand our environment and our engagement with it.”

Natasha Sachdeva

Isn’t My Back Less Bulkier?, Watercolour on Paper

“This piece is an extension of my ongoing series that investigates the varied aspects revolving around a woman’s existence. This particular work illustrates the unease and struggle a woman must undergo when striving to de-emphasise the ‘excess’ flesh on her back—in efforts to banish the unrealistic notions of beauty.

My love for art came to the fore during my school days. I scribbled a portrait of the art teacher on my desk, and she was so overwhelmed that she gifted me a bunch of sketchbooks and paints. Looking back, I wouldn’t be a free-spirited soul today, had I not been introduced to art. The intangible urge to dig deeper and connect with myself compels me to create.

Even today, art serves as therapy for thousands—an escape. It is a healthy way to maintain sanity in today’s robotic, restless lifestyle.” 

Anupama Alias

Receptacles, Residues, Retributions From My Remaining Life, Mixed Media on Paper

“A woman’s life goes through many stages—transitional, vulnerable, static. This piece trails their changing identity and the in-betweenness of their existence.

I recollect being in awe of the beautiful artworks from my father’s collection, which include some of the artist journals from the ’90s. My initial memory is that of a rising sun and a river made by my father. Today, learning about people’s struggles, journeys of survival, and great achievements inspires my work.

Life without art is void; art lends contentment and comfort, and acts as a catalyst for wisdom—chiselling humans’ perceptions and making their psychosomatic senses alive. The extensive research that goes into constructing a piece helps you grow, cultivate, and transform.

Yogesh Ramkrishna

The Trouper, Watercolour on Paper

“This illustration explores the countless faces a female needs to wear to appease forced societal expectations concerning culture, religion, and the sociopolitical structure of Indian society. This visual is a portrayal of the inconceivable burdens a women carries—and the injustices she must face while owning her independence.

My earliest memory of art is associated with my beloved grandfather, whom I keenly watched paint. And it is such life experiences, coupled with insecurities and observations, which compel me to create works that will have meaning in the world today. Art is my sanctuary; a safe space where I explore the truth that has been concealed by weaving in my vision and desires, while narrating my response to the post-truth world.

In an era where every piece of information is manipulated, art acts as a mirror—an unspoken voice that provides hopes for the future, and lends us the power to defend ourselves from the unethical happenings in society."

Prabhakar Alok

In Between, Mixed Media on Canvas

“This illustration captures the lives of migrant labourers from Bihar, who have left their hometown in search of employment. Several years of hardship, and they haven’t found a place to stay in the city—nor can they go back to the village. In the quest for bread and butter, they are living their lives in the middle of nowhere.

I hail from Bihar, and Madhubani paintings plunged me into the phenomenal world of art. Growing up, I was deeply inspired—and fascinated—by traditional and folk forms of art. Art education has developed my sensibilities, allowing me to observe the distinct layers of society, nature, and culture. Today, the mundane surroundings, and the day-to-day happenings of life light the fire within me." 

Sudipta Das

The King, Watercolour on Paper

“This work represents shifting power dynamics, and assumes a new identity. While the image of the king upholds a long history of prosperity for the royal family, it sits at a local market in Vadodara, Gujarat... 

My first encounter with art takes me back to the days I replicated the pictures found on calendars that hung along the walls at home. As time passed, my interest grew in archival material such as books, machinery, photographs...pretty much anything that exudes a sense of oldness. Paper, as a medium, allows me to experiment and express myself. I’m currently working with hanji paper from South Korea for my human sculptures.

Life is art and art is life; it has brought me more confidence. Art records the present world for the future, and will continue to play an important role in the times to come.” 

Pallavi Singh

What Makes Me Feminine?, Watercolour and Acrylic Ink on Paper

“These illustrations explore the socially—and culturally—constructed concepts of femininity, carved by society, for women. These constructs define appropriate gendered behaviour, leaving little—or no—space for women to flourish as able beings in society.

I grew up watching my older brother draw superheroes, and I was fascinated by the thought of creating and telling stories with simple tools. This curiosity sowed the seed of creativity within me. Today, my surroundings, my lifestyle, commercials, pop culture, everything inspires me.

Art has helped me become an inquisitive member of society—one who is willing to challenge the preset norms. It has strengthened my belief in the innate goodness of people. Art is the best form of documenting civilisational progress; it allows us to become witnesses, and participants, all at the same time.”