Art Heritage brings to Delhi audiences Liminal Worlds, showcasing the works by two promising emerging women artists, Sunanda Khajuria and Gouri Vemula. In social and political terms, liminality opens up a space for conversations…a space that can be healing and cathartic, a space where the local and global can co-exist.
Though completely individual in their stylistic renderings, a common thread that allows us to view the work of Sunanda and Gouri’s alongside one another, is that they both create liminal spaces — transient dream-like worlds, wherein their protagonists reside. In doing so they propose a consciousness of the existence of multiple, simultaneous realities, none being mutually exclusive.
In its widest sense, the creation of a liminal space allows the artist a latitude and a freedom to bring differences together on the same platform, to see the close bonds and parallels between for instance, the world of humans and those of beasts as in the work of Gouri Vemula, or to accept cultural differences, as in the psychedelic and startling dreamscapes of Sunanda Khajuria.
Surreal landscapes with mythic figures of gods and goddesses, animals and human figures emerge in Gouri Vemula’s pen and ink drawings. Her alternate worlds draw inspiration from the forest nearby her home, where she spends hours sketching, doodling and day-dreaming. In this fantasy world, real, imagined, human and chimeric creatures roam the land, at times camouflaging themselves within the foliage of the jungle; while at other times boldly displaying their uniqueness, showing themselves in urban and rural settings. These beautiful creatures inhabit a community in which forms blend into one another, conflict- free, and where it’s impossible to separate the apparent intermingling and interconnected social fabric. With an amazing skill of draftsmanship and an unerring sense of composition, Vemula draws from indigenous classical and popular traditions of Indian iconography, creating imagined landscapes where gods, humans and Nature coexist in a passionate cosmic play.
Sunanda Khajuria continues her decade long exploration, adding works from her Moving Landscapes series, which is inspired by her connectivity with Nature as well as her urban environment. Birds, animals, clouds, mountains, along with village homes and modern modes of transport are recurring visual metaphors that she has developed over the years sourced from ancient Chinese or Indian iconography, to create a highly inventive lexicon of visual signs for herself. Images of fish, birds, sheep become talismans imbued with mysterious symbolic meaning, which she skillfully interweaves with images of transition and mobility – like clouds and airplanes. Placing them in a non-perspectival space, Khajuria allows them to remain unconnected objects floating in a void. It is in this strange, liminal world that Khajuria’s protagonists reside.
A traveller living between cultures – Chinese and Indian – Sunanda finds the experience of being ‘in transit’ representative of her true and present state of consciousness. For the artist, the experience of ‘otherness’ is an enriching one. Remarking on human desire Sunanda says – “In the same way that clouds can make a sky beautiful, our desires add to the substance of our lives; both are unstoppable and intangible; they can overcome barriers without difficulty and travel freely and continuously; they can instantly morph into any shape; and exist in the sky like an illusion, far above reach.
Liminal Worlds brings forth an opportunity for the art connoisseur, patrons and collectors to engage and explore these dream-like spaces while evoking the generality of their surroundings, pictorialized by the interaction between the illusion of dreams, thoughts and vision of the reality and it’s co-existence.
4 Sep - 23 Oct 2021
Gouri Vemula, Sunanda Khajuria
Acrylic on Canvas, Pen and Ink on Paper