Upcoming creative artist Shivangi Ladha showcases her creative work, and we explain it for you. Shivangi has been experimenting with different ways to communicate her concerns about violence against women and girls, and she is not hesitant to face this most tough of topics.
‘Oneness’ is a tryst of eco-feminism and animism that subconsciously personifies natural phenomena to explain existential situations. It is Inspired by a socio-experiment in Rajasthan’s Piplanti village, where 111 trees are planted when a girl child is born.
The vague scent of life and green vegetation in this work reminds me of Chinua Achebe’s Umuofia (People of the Forest) in his acclaimed novel, Things Fall Apart, where bad omens sent by the “Gods” were left in the “Evil Forest” to die. However, this foliage is no evil forest but the adobe of trees which are the female spirits lost to infanticide or disparity nourishing themselves by co-existing with their living soul sisters as they are deprived of light. The stories of some of these bent, battered and fading trees are only for the drowning eyes of those who defy civilization; a scheme to hide the nakedness. Forms of woman and nature revolt as one against imposing ideas to conserve one another evocating images of the popular Chipko Andolan.
The ‘oneness’ forms a confidential link in these mystic woods which can only be latently perceived by any viewer. The artist herself does not anoint every object she encounters, like Aldous Huxley she accepts that happiness is not grand. Allowing herself the realism of being intimately acquainted with the ways and suffering from no illusions when she declares, “I imagined the entire village to be green”. Consequently, taking us to the womb of this utopia which roots itself in the tyranny of the social circumstances and the history of a village where excessive mining denuded hills and degraded flora. The fragility of unmet expectations is foreboded in the precarity of a monoprint and the asymmetry of the trees. This progressive rather than primitive depiction of nature in a village will leave you with an important question: Can pastoral peace sustain itself against catastrophic destruction?
In 2017, when Shivangi invited Ritu Saini, a well-known activist, and an acid attack survivor to lunch she began by inquiring, “Are you comfortable?” to which Ritu retorted with her own query, “Are you?”.
‘Acid Attack Survivor’ is an etching series of 8 unique prints, unique since no two stories are identical and etched because it is a method in which designs are incised by acid. The deliberate selection is not only an emblem of ‘acid’ as an agent of creation rather than corrosion but a parallel comparison of its fundamental nature to those that survive its attacks. While inflexibility and deterioration are the prime properties of acid as an agent, the survivors’ temperaments are characterized by resilience and reformation.
The distorted physicality of being stretched is a metaphor for the emotional state of being stretched out: psychologically, emotionally, and socially. The hypertrophic, which is a scar that replaces the wound, is illustrated by the red patches. Embodying scars that celebrate their brave souls while also acknowledging their past. To be pulled thus far alludes to the delicacy and empathy that the survivors must display as strangers approach them to interact with a tangle of emotions, but never with the casualness of a stranger for idle talk.
In 1638, Baroque sculptor Bernini, defaced the noted beauty, Costanza Piccolomini Bonarelli in a fit of jealously. In the 20th century British painter, Francis Bacon notoriously unsettled viewers. The difference: While one was a heinous crime the other was a challenge to senses and suffering. This work seeks to be the cable bridge between these two realms with its real stories where mutilation is as much a product of distorted mentality as it is of distorted physicalities. When expressed with the progress that time should have offered, it hangs loose, but when seethed with the timeless unwavering spirits, it stands stern.
The screen selves intertwine, with the complexity of a three-dimensional puzzle, a puzzle in which the truth is not a fact and the facts are not the etched truths. Confounding a metaphysical storm, which no matter how symbolic cuts through the flesh and bleeds like the red masking tape. The distinct forms swirl together to fulfil their destiny of being the incomprehensible stacks in the Library of Alexandria. The Japanese paper with dazed naked women that turn their back; deny one another’s and their own presence and reinforce a Murakami quote.
“Why do people have to be this lonely? What’s the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why? Was the earth put here just to nourish human loneliness?”
With threads the shifting boundaries and ink the smearing forms there is also a rebirth of the eternal philosophical debate of mind and matter. As the single body repeats itself over and over subconsciously, it submits to a monotony, diminishing its inner and outer space by relinquishing the perception of senses and comprehension of circumstances that can exist only in wakeful consciousness. Through all these drills of mundanity represented by the successive layering a fragment of identity symbolized by the reappearance of the body in a screen print attempts to break free and rise above the convention of the crowd.
As the anatomy purges itself by existing limits the experience of the artwork is a quaint rhyme:
Everything familiar eventually sheaths;
Maybe it transcends or it recedes.