Rendezvous with Colours

Ashok Ogra
With Covid 19 pandemic restrictions being eased considerably, the art and culture scene in several parts of the country has started to come alive again. The attendance at art galleries has shown a steady increase in recent weeks.
In this regard, noted artist Aashima Mehrotra who describes herself a ‘civil servant and a visual artist’ recently held her exhibition ‘Aaj Rang Hai’ at India International Centre, New Delhi. She uses various metaphors to celebrate what she calls ‘rendezvous with cosmos of colours.’
For Aashima, colours are like lanes and by-lanes that enable her to capture the beauty that she embraces when visiting different places, and or meeting people. As part of her official assignment- both in Railways and Civil Aviation ministries- she gets to travel intensively. She internalizes the sights and sounds and portrays the same in her paintings. ( BISMILLAH KHAN celebrating the beauty of colours through Shehnai)
‘All my works are a reflection of my experience and my personality’, she explains.
In her multilayered work she grapples with dualities, between what is visible and obvious and what lies beneath, unseen. To her the tangible is often the surface. The depth lies outside of the human gaze; it can be felt and understood only through heightened empathy. In the painting ‘IMLI’ one can see village women going about their chores retaining an inner dignity.
Colours have fascinated Aashima since childhood. It was, therefore, only natural for her to get attracted to canvas and start painting very early in life. To further understand the finer nuances of art and hone her own skills, she studied the works of celebrated artists especially Nandlal Bose, Amrita Shergil, Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh. Her painting skills and technique acquired both sophistication and maturity under the guidance of renowned Kashmiri painter Veer Munshi.
Though influenced by impressionist and post-impressionist styles, Aashima has over the years developed her own distinctive style.
‘I am not shy of experimenting with abstract styles and mixed media that encompasses vivid imagination, originality and contrast, elements of nature and beautiful memories of nature,’ she elaborates.
(PRATYUSHA: Watercolour on Canvas)
Memories, in fact, are the seed of her voluminous oeuvre.
In her earlier solo exhibition titled ‘RANGVIDHA’ held at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai in December 2019, Aashima brilliantly captured her journey of life through the beauty of colours. The exhibition drew decent response.
Her work has also been displayed in National level exhibitions of AIFACS, GMR, Lalit Kala Akademi and many others. She has also done more than 10 group exhibitions. She was selected at 4th place in “Art United – Together we stand” Art competition organized by New York Art Competition in collaboration with Agora Gallery, Japan Society and New York Federation of Arts in 2020 and 6th place in category Impressionism-Human by American Art Awards.
The urge to create her own individuality and yet be creative is also visible in her contempt for the concept of normalcy: ‘it disrobes you from all your freedom, imagination and emancipation,’ she announces.
For instance distortion in few of her paintings is a way of depicting altered state of existence- a reality as powerful as normalcy. (DISTORTED LIBERATION: Mixed media on canvas)
She extends this belief to portraits that can be seen transcending time and space. ‘Artists have tried to depict different moods of life and have tried to transcend that, which is obvious,’ she illuminates.
In ‘MUSIC OF SILENCE’ she captures the sound of music through language of colours- thus initiating an observer to listen with eyes.
(The author writes on art and culture)