Friday, March 8, 2019

14 Inspirational Voices - International Women's Day

Today is International Women’s Day. A day to focus on Women’s rights, discrimination against women and girls so on and so forth. In some countries, it is supposed to be a holiday while in most parts it is largely ignored. Though I tend to believe that this happens when we reduce such imperative everyday facets to just one day it also becomes a reminder of the sacrifice and courage the women before us endured and revealed. Each day is a Woman’s day and it is a celebration of her talents, dreams, aspirations, courage, and perseverance. Today in Hues n Shades, I am celebrating it with some super-talented, gorgeous women in the field of arts with their inspirational ‘voices’. They have stood the test of time and defined their sacred space. There are many more women across the globe who inspire one another every day. It is a celebration of all those known and unknown, legends and legends-in-the-making, beautiful souls. It is also a door ajar for the young to stride.

“Feet, what do I need them for if I have wings to fly?” ~ Frida Kahlo

Each woman, today, has the potential to fly, she only needs to realize it. A dream remains a dream when you fail to act upon it and when done alone, the moment you share it with kindred spirits it has the possibility of turning into reality. It becomes a collective dream. Each one of the incredible women has stressed here that nothing should bind us other than our highest inner truth. Each one of us has a heap to offer, it's not mere "ambition"; it's abiding by our inner voice, just being true to ourselves. As Anais Nin points out life does shrink and expand in proportion to one’s courage.

“I matter. I matter equally. Not ‘if only’, not ‘as long as’. I matter. Full Stop” – Chimamanda Adichie


14 Inspirational Voices:

Tanya Abraham - Curator, Kashi Art Gallery/Founder-Director of TAOS | Kochi

Tanya-Abraham-14-Inspirational-Voices-HuesnShades"I see art as a means of expression and a tool for change. Creativity is key in the 21st century, to facilitate human expression, understand conceptualization and encourage innovative thinking. We often tend to underestimate the power of the arts. Imagination and Creativity are, in truth, an important part of human life-Just like the need for prayer is. We can’t ignore art. It is a vital component of a healthy human life. When I am able to use art and work with artists to express, create change or to exhibit talent, it empowers me. My work at The Art Outreach Society is the testimony to my belief that creativity can change lives. Art on its own is empowering. When I indulge in it, there arises a sense of satisfaction which emerges from oneness with art."

Seema-Kohli-14-Inspirational-Voices-HuesnShadesSeema Kohli – Contemporary Visual Artist | New Delhi

"I think being a woman is just gender and it has made no difference in my perception of art. I paint to introspect, to answer my queries, my quest. But that doesn’t stop viewers or critics to see me as a certain gender. As an artist, I paint the feminine, the energy that is prevalent in all of us and is constantly expanding, creating and positively recreating this and many other universes. I paint the stories of sharing one single womb, through which we all have emerged, we are a part of the same single space having the same consciousness; so why this despair? Why these differences? Why these wars?"

Gitanjali Kolanad - Writer and Choreographer | London

"Art-making, as far as I know, anything about the process, is just a certain mode of attention, not letting the world go by in a stream, but being receptive to what it is always offering, and then letting that elicit wonder, questions, confusion. When I was a dancer that was an awareness from inside a moving body shaping patterns of movement. Now the struggle is to bring sensations into a form that can be put into words. But I still try to stay out of my own way as much as possible, to let forces beyond my conscious control take over. Being a woman is simply how I am an embodied being in the world. I find it impossible to isolate any quality, including in my art making, that is 'me' that is not also 'woman'."

Cecilia-Levy-14-Inspirational-Voices-HuesnShadesCecilia Levy – Paper Artist | Sweden

"Art is my life. It’s my passion and what keeps me happy and sane. It’s also my job and the main source of income, which means a somewhat strained economy that can be stressful at times. Being a full-time artist means giving up on the security of employment and a steady income. But it also means doing what you’re best at and loves most. My husband (also an artist) and I made an active choice many years ago. Being a female artist in the contemporary art scene today (how do you see yourself): The internet has brought the art world to me and my art into the world. Without social media I don’t think I could have persevered, my audience is mainly international. I’m extremely grateful for the internet, FB and IG. I am grateful every day for being able to do what I do, being exactly where I am, right here, right now. This fills me with immense joy. "

Ruchika-Wason-Singh-14-Inspirational-Voices-HuesnShadesRuchika Wason Singh - Visual Artist, Independent Researcher and the Founder of A.M.M.A.A | New Delhi 

"As a woman, an artist and a mother, I see my identities intertwined. My struggle has been to find a balance between the artistic and the personal domains in my life. This had led me to initiate A.M.M.A.A. Through my project A.M.M.A.A. - The Archive for Mapping Mother Artists in Asia, I seek to find space for voicing maternal experiences, creating opportunities and platforms for modules of art, for myself and for others. These modules are structured to encourage mother artists, whose commitments to their families require a more flexible model of creative platforms, which A.M.M.A.A. is aimed at. Through mapping, visibility and mobility, A.M.M.A.A. seeks to empower the female artists in Asia and those of the Asian diaspora."

Wyanne-Thompson-14-Inspirational-Voices-HuesnShadesWyanne Thompson – Artist | Atlanta-U.S

"For me, Art is my way of life. It takes care of me, heals me and allows me to share myself with the world. I’ve worked as a full-time artist for the past 25 years. I never paid much attention or thought much about being a “female artist”. I know many would argue that there has not been enough focus on female artists. And I have seen it first hand in the contemporary art world. But, for me...I never really identified as a “female artist”. I have just always felt that I was an artist, and gender was not an issue. I consider myself lucky to do what I love every day. It feeds my soul and empowers me. I feel that art had a direct influence on my ability to fight and beat cancer. It is my passion and my healer, and fulfillment. Then to be able to share my art with others for them to experience, has to be one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever experienced."

Dr. M.Balamani - Art Historian-Critic & Cultural Analyst | Baroda

"I started learning painting as a hobby by the time my children started going to school. Incidentally, I learned about Art History & Aesthetics, a specialized subject in this field and joined the Master’s curriculum immediately. Whether field has accepted my writings on art as an art critic or the writing on art is suitable to my aptitude I have no idea. Thinking and writing about art, talking and lecturing about art has been taking me to those undiscovered thoughts of my heart. I started enjoying deeply. It has given me the opportunity to excel in academics too to acquire my doctorate degree combining Art, Culture and day to day aesthetics of life. Years passed and I never realized how many miles I crossed in this path and would love to walk many more such wonders of art."

Radha-Gomaty-14-Inspirational-Voices-HuesnShadesRadha Gomaty – Painter, Sculptor, Creative Strategist, Writer | Kochi

"INTENSE ENLIVENMENT … those acutely inhabited moments, sharply lived, that came like epiphanies or visitations. This is the same creative zone that both precedes and permeates any artistic work process. It is inherent in the very Ground of just being Alive.  Art is just another one of its many subsets. Today I stand affirmed in my instinctive knowledge that Art is not necessarily objects-painting, music, sculpture, films...whatever it may be that one makes. Art is that process by which one keeps one's being in sparkling order, vulnerable receptive open cleared backed with the courage to walk the thin line, no matter what the circumstance. If one accomplishes this hack, then one can do anything with it or just be ...No matter what one does with it, there is this strong possibility that it invariably will be powerful, beautiful, inspiring and deeply effective."

Liz Ramos-Prado – Visual Media Artist | Peru

Liz-Ramos-Prado-14-Inspirational-Voices-HuesnShades"For me, art is an essential component of our lives; it is a powerful force of expression and communication that drives emotion, ideas and intention in all of its different manifestations. In a world where individuality and the egocentric notion of “self” reign, Arts contribute to creating a sense of identity, questioning our condition of humans and reminding us the importance of being genuinely connected as a society. As an artist, I see myself as a contributor, a provider. I feed myself from nature, people, all the surrounding and life experience itself. Through my pieces, I look to enable people to connect with my works in an exercise of self-reflection about specific matters that will bring a more open dialogue. I look for the singular changes; if my work moves or produce a significant emotion to one single person, then I feel accomplished, that empowers me." 

Nalini-Malaviya-14-Inspirational-Voices-HuesnShadesNalini Malaviya - Art Consultant, Curator, Writer, Author@Art Scene India | Bengaluru
"I see art as a tool for education, and as a means to spark creativity and innovation. Integrating art appreciation in the school curricula and in a viable form in the work environment can enhance creativity and facilitate the process of learning as well. As a consultant and curator, I work with galleries, contemporary artists and corporates on art projects, which broadly involves conceptualization, curation and writing. I see myself as an enabler – bridging the gap between art, artists and connoisseurs. I read somewhere that when you are offered an interesting opportunity, first say yes and then figure out how to go about it, and I follow that. I try to push myself outside my comfort zone with every new project and to learn along the way. The world is evolving so rapidly and there are new technologies and modalities of working that it is important to stay abreast. I feel, a constant focus on learning can be very empowering, and productive from a career perspective too."

P S Jalaja – Artist | Kochi

P-S-Jalaja-14-Inspirational-Voices-HuesnShades"For me, art does not stem from something fictitious but it ensues from the thoughts of our own objective-contemporary lives and the history-experiences of our own times. Research is the most important aspect of my work. It is in continuum with this research that prompts me to investigate my identity as an artist in this social system. It paves the way to understand the secondary status of women, to revolt against the power politics of authority for equal rights by being part of the sorority/community. I engage in compassionate experiments trying to stamp the circumstances, disasters, migrations, celebrations, assaults that people across the globe endure which is portrayed in my “Aalkootam” (Gathering) series. Boundaries are created by man for man. Wars, racial issues, caste-creed insurgencies, civil wars happen across the world and we witness history being repeated sometimes bloodier than before. I would like to appraise my art in the context of social responsibility. Art happens to be my medium where I move from one work to another with the intention of leading it to a healthy discussion of advancing to a different world unitedly and well-planned with love and imagination."

Ruby-Jagrut-14-Inspirational-Voices-HuesnShadesRuby Jagrut – Artist, Natural Dyes exponent, Trustee Abir | Ahmedabad

How does your gender matter when it comes to art! I think we all have to do our journey on our own. Art has the power to bind us irrespective of everything. Art is largely the manifestation of emotions, experiences and ideas one feels. Contemporary art has broken stereotypes and moved away from traditional ways of expression. Art can’t be seen in isolation from oneself. I found my solace in paintings and the process of extracting colour out of vegetables and minerals. I find it therapeutic. The subtleness of colour keeps me amused every time I paint. I am available to my canvas with my vulnerabilities, childlike eagerness and honesty. We have to constantly seek inspiration, be greedily aware and available to our environment. Earning about new pigments, experimenting with new ideas empower me. Reading, listening to music, dancing and indulging with different art form helps me understand the complexity of the expression.

Priti Vadakkath Visual Artist | Kochi

Art is a means of self-expression and communication. The process is also highly therapeutic for me, often my essential toolkit for survival. I am an artist because I have something to say, something to contribute to in the discussion and probably influence or convince my audience. There are varied roles I assume every day - as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a caregiver to a child with special needs. I believe all my ideas come from within and is informed by my immediate family, environment and the social context of my existence. Within all these spaces that I occupy, is an artist who interacts with, extracts from, and intervenes in society through her art and in doing so I continue to find fulfillment and empowerment.

Marie-Noëlle-Wurm-14-Inspirational-Voices-HuesnShadesMarie-Noëlle Wurm – Artist, Illustrator, Art Teacher | France

A big part of my process is trying to get to the truths at our core: connected to a natural world that is so much bigger than us, and to an infinite richness within—our capacity for self-awareness, for creativity, for growth. Art is an emotional language that connects us more deeply to ourselves, including the parts we shy away from: the sadness, the fear, the hurt—and shining a light on the darkness is how we transcend it. I’m able to do so much more than most women have, across millennia or around the world. I don’t take that for granted. I create art to give space to emotions, to our hidden selves—to reclaim space, a voice, a self. I try to speak my truth, and my life as a woman will always inform that truth. My hope is that it will inspire others to speak theirs. Art is a deeply personal journey but it’s also deeply universal—and that’s why it’s so powerful. In my own way, I try to honor that.

Let me conclude with these short verses:


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