International Women’s Day, a festival to celebrate womanhood is on March 8, 2020, and the theme this year is, “I Am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights.”
Every woman has her own struggles in her life for which she fight every single minute of her life. With the coming posts, I would like to tell about the women’s of India who realized their rights and fought against everyone to get the equality they deserved.
“I can only paint in India, Europe belongs to Picasso, Matisse and Braque. India belongs only to me.” -Amrita Sher Gil
Amrita Sher-Gil, the Frida Kahlo of India. She was an eminent Hungarian-Indian painter. She was born on January 30, 1913, at Budapest, Kingdom of Hungary. One of the famous painters of India who is known as pioneer of Modern Art in India. She might have led a carefree life, might have offended many people, might have declared herself as atheist and got suspended from school but what made me write about her today was her dedication to her work at the times when paintings made by woman were not appreciated and if someone did then it was definitely not the career which could be opted. Through all her career she made her art speak for herself. Her work portrayed the feelings, emotions which were unheard and untold. Her art was unapologetic, true and powerful just like her personality.
She depicted Western style and culture during the initial stages of her career, and gradually rediscovered herself portraying Indian subjects. She is often contemplated as a revolutionary woman artist and the originator of modern art in India.
She travelled various parts of India, France and Turkey and incorporated ideas and different techniques into her own works. Her personal life was controversial but her career was flourishing. She gained wide recognition and appreciation with her painting called ‘Young Girls’. This painting described the two sides of coin or say two personalities, one was the girl who was extrovert and modern while the other was introvert and conservative. Her work deeply reflected her Western influence and her technique was close to the paintings practised in the Bohemian circles.
Amrita Sher-Gil, returned India post-marriage in 1934 which began the never-ending journey of trying to decode the traditions and culture of Indian Art. This can be seen in her paintings such as ‘Brahmacharis’, ‘Bride’s Toilet’ and ‘South Indian Villagers Going To Market’. She wrote the pain and struggles of Indian people with brush strokes which depicted the true emotions of the subjects she drew. For her work she went to different villages of India, stepped out of her comfort zone to understand the struggles and life style of different people. With these paintings, she rediscovered her purpose and style of painting. Her work and style of the painting clearly depicted the different phases of life. These paintings represented the poor state of the unprivileged women in the country.
Amrita was one of the most gifted and impressive Indian artists of the pre-colonial era. She was the only Asian artist who was also the youngest to be elected as an Associate of the Grand Salon in Paris. She was awarded a gold medal in Paris for ‘Young Girls’, a prestigious award there.
At the age of 28 on December 5, 1941, due to a serious illness, she left this world.
Her work influenced and inspired a number of modern-day greats. India Post released a stamp of her painting ‘Hill Women’ in the year 1978. And a road in Lutyen’s Delhi is named after her as the Amrita Shergil Marg. Many plays and novels including Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Moor’s Last Sigh’ were inspired by her. Even now her artworks are housed in the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi and her works are declared as National Art Treasures by Government of India.
Amrita Sher Gil is considered as a “pioneer” in modern Indian Art because of the “revolutionary” way she blended Western and traditional art forms.
She was a courageous artist with rebellious nature and that made her strong in her own way.