Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Shalini's Stir Of Art

Shalini Seereeram's acrylic paintings expresses the richness of an Indian heritage with a sensual sexuality purely her own, 9th till 20th May 2006.

Shalini's Rite of Passage exhibition at Horizons Art Gallery, Port of Spain encompasses many art genres from painters such as Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. She also embraces the traditions of Hinduism, Islamic filigree, Mehndi and miniatures from the Moghul school.

A self portrait of a West Indian East Indian painted as an altar piece simulating gold leaf motifs with the use of metallic inks

Seereeram merges these styles together without losing her own unique character. Her figurative portraits intermingled with primary and secondary colours and her use of metallic pigments simulate a gold leaf. This gives the feel of stain glass. These paintings are simplified by the curved line and by the painter's stokes to give a fullness to the human form without fumbling with its proportions. A Sari is drawn as if as it was body painted. There is also the national flower of India held by Shiva as the deity holding the lotus in front of a radian disk. Seereeram gives homage to her Indian heritage.

Rite of Passage is mystic and decorative and there are levels of eroticism present. Women embrace each in any erotic ways. This is cleverly mask for the voyeur or taming the concerns of a sexual identity in public view in its stigma or discomfort.

Eroticism cleverly masked and India cleverly illustrated


There is more to the work of Shalini Seereeram than meets the eye. She began her career by working on window pane with her signature bursts of vibrant colour and unusual use of metallic nail polishes. She has since produced a distinctive style as an illustrator whose arabesque shapes detail a rich, flat spectrum that draws interest every time the work is looked at.This show is called “Rite of Passage” and it is clear that Miss Seereeram is looking beyond the surface of works past. She is still using her rich tones and textures,but for this show that is all mainly a single woman in a frame, she has restricted herself to contemplating the meaning behind the solitary nature of the figure.The work is steeped in many levels of traditional drawing. The affected tilt downward of the heads of the women recall Renaissance images of the Madonna and child.

The colours she uses and the details mirror the miniature painting schools of India, causing a second observation of her women who do not look directly at the viewer, but look demurely away, reminiscent of yet another traditional view of women, this time, of Indian women.

Miss Seereeram may be grappling with how to go beyond the pretty and the appealing for something with greater depth and meaning to her, and she is doing so subconsciously by following the lines that she loves to make in the follow through jesture of ending them as sharp points. By doing so she is making the statement that her women may be descendant from many traditional historical perspectives, but they transcend that and are firmly rooted in the present.She shows this with her daring image of two women embracing in a clearly Lesbian clutch. For a show of this nature it is a gutsy move to make, as such themes are seldom if ever attempted openly for public consumption.

Thus it is refreshing to see Miss Seereeram taking such steps to look at the many aspects of modern female life. It is not easy to be working as successfully as she has and kicking out of the box of her own comfort. She still has much that she is looking at in terms of her technique and style, and as she continues to show her work it shall be interesting to see her continued growth process. - Adele

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