Stories from Cocoons

Event date: Sunday, October 4,2020  USA: 11 am EST / India: 8:30 pm IST

— In the words of Chandrima Bhattacharyya – Exhibit Curator

The world of curation is not very pretty from the point of view of an artist who works in solitude, fuelled by their inner search, and staying away from all kinds of networking to remain visible in the art world.

My interest in the various languages artists develop has left me wanting to curate a show of a select group of artists, women in particular, who create art from the depths of their quintessential womanhood. I’m thankful to Sreyashi and Akshara for their help in quenching this curatorial desire of mine.

This particular group of artists belongs to a variety of age groups, mostly unknown to me personally, but whose work, thanks to social media, I’ve admired for some time.

The common thread that binds all these women, including me, is the deeply visceral or eminently feminine quality present in all their work. Each is quite different from the other, yet they are all deeply feminine and feminist in their approach to art.

That was the point of departure in choosing my group of artists: Dilara Begum Jolly, Sutanuka Giri, Piyali Sadhukhan, Ruma Choudhury, and Promiti Hossain. And of course I, Chandrima Bhattacharyya.

Chandrima Bhattacharyya

Chandrima Bhattacharyya has pursued a career in painting and drawing for the past 30 years. She has been invited to exhibit her work at prestigious galleries in the major cities of India, as well as in New York, Munich, Berlin, London, and many more.

Her works are in the collections of The National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi, Rubin Museum of Art, New York, The Ebrahim Alkazi Collection, Emami Centre for Arts, and various other private and corporate collections.

Chandrima has received the Junior and Senior fellowships in Painting from the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, and has taught at a few art and design colleges and schools.

She had been the curator at the Kala Bhavan Museum for 6 years and was instrumental in developing a couple of designated galleries for the museum collection with a grant she acquired from the Ministry of Culture for the development of small museums.

Chandrima formally trained in Ceramic Design and Art History during her undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Fine Arts at Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan.

Dilara Begum Jolly

Dilara Begum Jolly was born in 1960 in Chittagong, Bangladesh. She studied painting and printmaking at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka and Kala Bhavana, Santiniketan, India.

Jolly was a founding member of ‘shomoy’ a group of artists that would later be singled out by critiques and art historians as a pivotal actor in the recent art history of Bangladesh.

‘Shomoy’ group was critical about local formal modernist practices and proposed themes of reflection with deep political and social resonance.

Jolly expanded her subject matter and touches upon gender, trauma, history and female body.

Though initially trained as a painter, she has expanded her practice to be multidisciplinary, including various media such as performance, video, sound, object making, and film.

Jolly has developed a signature practice of needling on paper, and more recently photographs related to history through a painstaking process, during which she draws motifs on paper, or highlights areas on photographic images, through needle prickling.

Piyali Sadhukhan

Piyali Sadhukhan completed her BVA from Rabindra Bharati University in 2004 and MFA from Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati University in 2006. Soon afterward, she received a Junior Research Fellowship from the Government of India – 2007-2008.

Piyali’s engagement with layers of memory, knowledge and meaning takes her nearer to found objects and economical raw materials that are used every day.

Her new oeuvre turns to the individual, as she moves toward the intangible, weathered imaginations of form.

She has participated in various projects, including “Designs on Delta – Exploring the Making of Myths”, a workshop based installation project by Khoj Kolkata – 2012,  “The Boat Project Installation” by Khoj Kolkata – 2010, and “Logged” organized by Emami Chisel Art. She has also participated in many group shows.

Her analytical essay, “Surveillance on Humanity”, was published in Art Etc, an art magazine by Emami Chisel Art.

Over the past 12 years she has acquired experience as an artistic director and scenographer owing to her engagement with more than 100 theater productions.

Her chief shows include:

  • “Seeing is (Not) Believing” at Akar Prakar art Contemporary, New Delhi
  • “Urban Narratives – a Show at Espace Louis Vuitton” in Tokyo in 2012 – works funded by Louis Vuitton
  • “Moder Kono Desh Nai, Moder Kono Disha Nai,” at Forum Schlossplutz, Switzerland in 2015
  • “A Room of Hera Own” at Gandhara Art Gallery
  • “Beneath the Black” at Gandhara Art Gallery
  • “Feminity or Femenism” at Emami Chisel Art
  • “Boitakkhana Project” at the residence of Prof. R.C. Majumdar – a workshop based installation project and initiative by Khoj Kolkata – 2014
  • A 35th anniversary celebration show organized by Gorky Sadan – 2009
  • “Entourage De Color,” Birla Academy – 2008

Sponsored by Akar Prakar, Piyali had also made headlines with her 17x10x10 ft Kaliya installation – a giant 3D installation – on the Indian museum courtyard in 2014.

She also worked vigorously to exhibit her solo show at Akar Prakar Contemporary, New Delhi in April, 2019.

Promiti Hossain

Promiti Hossain is a Bangladeshi practicing artist with a background of mixed nationalities and religious descent.

Born in Bangladesh in 1991, she spent most of her life in Dhaka, Bangladesh and partly with her family in Santiniketan, West Bengal, India.

Promiti studied four years of Diploma course and two years of Advanced Diploma course on Painting from Kalabhavana, Fine-Arts Department, Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan. After completing her course in 2016, she continued her artistic pursuits in Santiniketan.

She has participated in several national and International group exhibitions in India, Bangladesh, and China.

Among various group exhibitions, she has participated in a group exhibition of the twelve shortlisted young artists for Samdani Art Award in “Seismic Movement”, Dhaka Art Summit 2020, curated by Philippe Pirotte and Aron Cezar.

She is the winner of the SAF’s first ever jury’s special mention prize of the Samdani Art Award for her collaborative art project “Personal and Social”, awarded by Andrian Villar Rojas, Julie Mehretu, Eungie Joo, and Carolyn Christov-Bakarviev.

She has also participated in:

  • The 18th Asian Art Biennale, Shilpakala Academy in Dhaka, Bangladesh – 2018
  • “SHE.ART” women’s art festival, organized by White Space Gallery and Shangyuan Modern Art Museum in Beijing, China – 2018.
  • “Inside the Fiber” curated by Soma Bhowmick, Arts Acre Museum in Kolkata, India – 2019.
  • “Self/Identity” – A contemporary exhibition curated by Wakilur Rahman and Kehkasha Sabah, organized by Prothom Alo Newspaper and media, National Museum of Bangladesh in Dhaka – 2017

Her first solo exhibition “Inside Out” was curated by Wakilur Rahman and Kehkasha Sabah in Kalakendra, Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2016.

Ruma Choudhury

Ruma Choudhury was born in Birbhum, West Bengal, India in 1990. She has completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s securing the 1st division in painting.

An alumnus of the prestigious painting department of the Kala, Bhavan, Visva Bharati Shantiniketan, she completed her degrees in the years 2014 and 2016 respectively.

Ruma is an emerging artist based in Shantiniketan and Kolkata. She is a painter, performance artist, paper maker, and passionate photographer.

Awarded with the Academy of fine arts award in Kolkata for best painting of 2016 and National scholarship in painting dept, 2015-16, she is a regular participant in several exhibitions.

She participated in a curated group exhibition named “Departure”, organized and hosted by Ganges Art Gallery, Kolkata and conceptualized by Prasanta Sahu in 2020.

Ruma has also participated in a curated exhibition by Soma Bhowmik named “Inside the fibre”, organized and hosted by Artsacre Foundation, Kolkata in 2019.

She displayed a solo visual episode called “Existence” in a curated group visual arts project “Raconteur”, organized and Hosted by A.M. – Art Multi-Disciplines Studio in Kolkata – 2018.

In 2017 she was a participant of a group exhibition named Images and Impressions, Profile and Persona of Pranab Mukherjee” – Then honorary president of India – at the Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata – 2017 and a curatorial group show named “I Am” at A.M. – Art Multi-Disciplines Studio of Kolkata, curated by Ushmita Sahu.

She performed solo with the art named “Hairy Strokes” organized and hosted by Gallery Onkaf, New Delhi , as well as a group exhibition named “Multi Hues” in Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi in 2018.

Now she is doing her freelance research on different unknown fibres – mostly native to Birbhum – to make it into paper.

She has been a regular participant in numerous shows and paper making workshops. She participated in Barbil Art Project III in 2017, organized by Utsha and Arys, Odisha and conducted a paper making workshop in the project and curated by Ushmita Sahu.

In 2019 she conducted a paper making workshop organized and hosted by the Artscare Foundation of Kolkata.

In 2020 she has conducted paper making workshops organized and hosted by the Suchana Foundation and exchanged ideas with the Adivasis tribal girls regarding the different kinds of fibres that could be obtained and made useful.

To add she has also conducted workshops on how to make paper by hand.

As an emerging artist, Ruma Choudhury is bequeathed with the virtue of tremendous determination and dedication.

Sutanuka Giri

After finishing her post-graduate degree from Kala Bhavan, Viswa-Bharati University, Sutanuka Giri started working in a school in Kolkata, Patha Bhavan.

She has been working in the field of Art education for fifteen years. Introducing the world of visual language and imparting new approaches of perception to the students has been one of her most important aims and duties that she has been performing with grace and passion over the years.

Apart from teaching, Sutanuka has also taken part in various exhibitions. Her work and her study are deeply personal and of course the most personal is often the most creative.

Even though she’s always crafting her ideas as a quiet worker, her work is anything but that. Instead it’s bold and vivacious.

Sutanuka’s intensive observation has led her to extract the most sublime aspect of nature and pour its strong presence in her art.

She prefers fabric as her medium and the utilization of natural color.

In recent years she has started working with eco-print. This particular process is quite time consuming; understanding the organic chemicals and ingredients is rather involved. She has been experimenting her way through…