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Indian artist Helen Brahma blends girls’s spirituality, self value in KL ‘Guardian Spirits’ exhibition

PETALING JAYA, Sept 23 — Artist Helen Brahma believes that having a way of self is essential for her work.

“In every single place, everybody appears to be having an id disaster, proper?” she mentioned with a smile

“I feel girls specifically are inclined to sacrifice their id, the sense of who they’re, for the sake of everybody else round them.”

This sense of id is aptly mirrored in Helen’s newest exhibition “Guardian Spirits”.

Presently displayed on the Sutra Gallery in Persiaran Titiwangsa, Kuala Lumpur, the exhibit options some 53 intricate work of vahanas (the animal autos of Hindu gods).

There’s a curious twist to Helen’s depictions of those animals, each is wrapped in Sambalpuri textiles, a conventional ikat material from her residence state of Odisha in India.

Helen says that the overarching theme of her work is one among id, each by way of her cultural heritage in addition to a girl. — Image by Devan Manuel

Consequently, the exhibit presents viewers a surreal and mesmerizing expertise, evoking themes of spirituality, tradition, and man’s relationship with nature.

talking to malay mail Whereas she was on the town just lately, Helen defined that “Guardian Spirits” is an extension of a bigger physique of labor she has been engaged on for the previous decade.

After beginning her profession as an artist by portray nonetheless life and nature research, she mentioned she started to look extra intently at her personal environment by way of a analysis venture in Odisha.

“I used to be serving to an artwork historian, Elinor Gadon, together with her analysis on the native temples by finishing up translation work for her,” mentioned Helen.

“In Odisha, there are various temples for yoginis (deities) who’re all girls — some of the well-known is one in Hirapur that has 64 yoginis.

“So I began eager about how girls have been revered in our tradition, and seen as essential.”

On the identical time, she was struck by the distinction between this worship and the lives of the ladies round her.

“In my setting, in my hometown Jajpur, I see many housewives and their work underappreciated.

“Working girls are seen as highly effective and prestigious, however housewives are sometimes uncared for and virtually hidden away, regardless of them doing a lot work with out days off or pay.

“Whereas we do have all these yogini temples, I really feel that many of those aren’t given sufficient consideration — not directly, I needed to create work that can spotlight these ‘hidden’ deities and housewives, to indicate that they deserve recognition too, ” she mentioned.

She added that she selected to include Sambalpuri textiles in her work as the material represented an extra dimension to her id as an Odisha girl.

“In Odisha, individuals give textiles, sindoor, or bangles as choices once they go to temples.

“So with my work of Sambalpuri, I am providing my tradition’s textiles to the viewers — it is a private providing that could be very a lot part of who I’m,” she mentioned.

The making of a Sambalpuri textile or sari, the exact same material worn by Odissi dancers, is a time-consuming course of that may take months to finish.

(From left) Ramli and Helen pose for a photograph with one of the paintings in 'Guardian Spirits'.  Ramli said he was keen on bringing Helen's work to Malaysia, as it highlighted the beauty of Odisha traditions while strengthening the cultural links between Malaysia and India.  — Picture by Devan Manuel

(From left) Ramli and Helen pose for {a photograph} with one of many work in ‘Guardian Spirits’. Ramli mentioned he was eager on bringing Helen’s work to Malaysia, because it highlighted the great thing about Odisha traditions whereas strengthening the cultural hyperlinks between Malaysia and India. — Image by Devan Manuel

It entails repeatedly tie-dying warp and weft threads, earlier than they’re woven into intricate and colourful designs.

Equally, Helen shared that it took her round three years of iteration to precisely depict the material in her portray.

“Sambalpuri patterns are very exact and detailed, so I needed to analysis these designs within the first place,” she defined.

“Then it was a technique of seeing how they labored on the canvas; it took me a while to color them in such a method that they do not look flat and lifeless.

“Many of those have been created all through the 2 years of the pandemic, so having that point did assist.”

Whereas Helen has extensively exhibited in India and internationally, that is her first present in Malaysia — a feat pulled off due to dancer and choreographer Datuk Ramli Ibrahim.

As Ramli is the nation’s most important exponent of classical Odissi dance and traditions, the pairing is much from shocking.

“Helen’s work is extremely attention-grabbing, as a result of she is a really fashionable girl who has subsumed her modernity in a conventional context,” he instructed malay mail.

“This exhibition in a method additionally showcases the 65-year relationship between Malaysia and India, particularly our up to date cultural arts hyperlinks between one another.”

Ramli, who can also be Sutra Basis’s chairman, added that he was glad to have the assist of Yayasan Hasanah and its Arts For All Seasons (ArtsFAS) initiative in staging the exhibition.

Helen’s subsequent collection of labor will seemingly concentrate on one other element of cultural id—language.

“I do not assume I’ll run out of subject material with regards to id,” she mentioned with amusing.

“It is one thing that everybody can relate to, and I really feel it is one thing everybody wants.”

“Guardian Spirits” will run on the Sutra Gallery till September 30.

Entry is by appointment, and people can e mail [email protected] to ebook their viewing slot.


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