Jayashree Chakravarty’s ‘Life will never be the same again’ at the Musee departmental des arts Asiatiques, Nice

Jayashree Chakravarty’s ‘Life will never be the same again’ at the Musee departmental des arts Asiatiques, Nice

Jayashree Chakravarty’s preoccupations and concerns in her art practice largely address the shrinking natural habitat and water bodies in ever-expanding Indian cities. She lives by herself in a rapidly urbanizing suburb of Kolkata in eastern India, where she watched the rich marshlands of Salt Lake, transform into “Salt Lake City”, now a congested residential neighbourhood. Observing the uprooting of wild flowers and grass, some of them part of the local lore and known for their medicinal value, the consequent vanishing of the once abundant animal, vegetal, and insect life around her have sharpened her sensibilities and perceptions to the irreparable in nature. Alluding to the cluttered environment of the city, her densely painted monumental canvases explode with excessive imagery, both gestural and visceral, to draw viewers into the vortex of unsettling inchoate landscapes that evoke spatial and temporal turbulence. Her recent soaring installations with long suspended scrolls have nature as both subject and material. Instantly, we seem to encounter a maze created out of an overlay of painted and woven imagery, interlaced and secured between the skeins/skins of pasted paper and fabric. A closer look reveals petals, dry leaves, seeds, stems, roots and plant-remnants embedded into her multi-layered creations that cannot be experienced from any single vantage point. In contemporary times, where industrial materials and technology have opened up possibilities of more varied artistic and conceptual conquests, Jayashree’s hand-made organic forms gestures the need to be closer to nature, seeking through her work, ways of recuperating the self and the world we live in. Through a poetic evocation in her recent exhibition titled ‘Life will never be the same’, Jayashree encapsulates many overlapping emotions and personal experiences. She acknowledges the inevitability of constant change, fundamental to life, and yet she accentuates the lamenting tone pushing forward the potency of the phrase, as if pained by an irreconcilable loss, while at once perhaps, she expresses a longing to be located in a time and space of a utopian past. Unpretentious and fiercely honest, Jayashree Charkravarty, has raised with utmost humility, the most pertinent question that we must all confront and reflect on– ‘how to live and let live’. Roobina Karode Curator

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