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An artwork nook in Kochi is bringing girls artists collectively

An artwork nook in Kochi is bringing girls artists collectively

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Artist Victoria AM has rallied girls to type a sisterhood of help and discover skilled power at her artwork gallery, Namasthe Artwork Heart in Mattancherry

Artist Victoria AM has rallied girls to type a sisterhood of help and discover skilled power at her artwork gallery, Namasthe Artwork Heart in Mattancherry

In June 2021, when Victoria A M opened her studio — which had been closed for a number of months because of the lockdowns — she discovered that the enforced closure and the monsoon rains had precipitated a lot devastation. “I used to be mentally destroyed,” she recollects. Her sequence of work on the Kerala Floods of 2018, which was to have been her entry to the Lokame Tharavadu present, had been ravaged.

A devastated Victoria gathered the mouldy water-stained canvases and torched them. She remembers “these horrible days when there was no earnings”. Then she contracted COVID-19. However at a time, “when issues have been coming aside”, Victoria discovered hope in “my angels”, a brand new sequence of works on those that helped her throughout these darkish days.

In her 60s, Victoria says that life has been exhausting for girls artists, particularly throughout the pandemic. At first of 2022, she started Introduction, a sequence of works by girls artists at Namasthe Artwork Cener, her 160-sq.ft area in Mattancherry. Her solely hassle on this employed area is the dearth of a bathroom. Victoria hopes her well being will allow her to host girls artists as steadily as doable. After Introduction -3, Austria primarily based Malayali artist Deepa Chandran Ram is to exhibit her works. She additionally plans to have artwork camps for girls.

A sisterhood

Thus far, round 25 artists — starting from faculty college students to senior artists — have exhibited their works and the third version of Introduction is ongoing. The continual exhibits have rallied the ladies right into a sisterhood of help, solace {and professional} power.

“I’m blissful that my area has grow to be a rallying place for girls artists,” says Victoria. “They exhibit their works, meet, chat, discover help and luxury and lots of launch themselves from right here. It’s very satisfying.”

Radha Gomathy, who was at Victoria’s aspect throughout her battle, commends the latter’s bravery within the face of utmost adversity. “I bear in mind speaking to her about cost of electrical energy payments and of artwork on the identical time,” smiles Victoria.

A group of young artists with Victoria A M , right

A gaggle of younger artists with Victoria A M , proper

Anu Zafran, who’s exhibiting 4 works, discovered Victoria by way of a girls’s group on WhatsApp. “It was a courageous transfer to offer us the gallery, her effort and time. As girls, we now have to search out help for ourselves and Victoria is an inspiration. She has saved afloat and going regardless of all her issues,” says Anu, including that originally she felt diffident about expressing herself however such a bunch and gallery offers her confidence. 

Sandhyambika, a self-taught artist {and professional} banker, says her work ‘Thottavadi’ or Contact me Not is a about her being labelled thus. The work which has squirrels and birds among the many crops is concerning the energy of a lady. “The plant is powerful and so are girls,” says the artist.

Work by artist Anu Zafran

Work by artist Anu Zafran

Mural artist Lekha Vyloppilly, whose works draw from Indian custom, is happy to be a part of Introduction. Although she doesn’t establish with “gender tags” in artwork, she feels that such initiatives go a great distance in supporting girls.

Although the gross sales from the exhibits haven’t resulted in substantial transactions (there have been 4 gross sales within the first version), Victoria has been drawing consumers to her small and cosy nook.

Jeevadhyanam, by Lekha Vyloppilly. Rice paper on canvas/coffee wash and water colour pencil

Jeevadhyanam, by Lekha Vyloppilly. Rice paper on canvas/espresso wash and water color pencil


Early craving

As a college lady in her Sree Moolagramam, she was seen for her “particular drawings” however artwork was not a area to be chosen as a profession, and definitely not for women. She went on to check Sanskrit and philosophy. When Victoria got here to Kochi as a bride, 40 years in the past, she needed to put aside her ardour for artwork to be a homemaker. Although she didn’t contact a paintbrush for 10 years, her husband (photographer Boney Keyar) and her father-in-law, artist -photographer, Okay R Antony, inspired her to study. She recollects telling her husband that it was paints she craved for, not a sari.

Within the early Nineties she participated in a bunch present. Her entry, ‘The elephant bathtub’, was an unframed work “on a bit of paper caught on the wall” at Maulana Azad Library in Kochi. This was adopted by one other group present at Maharaja’s School. Later Victoria labored as an artwork instructor and sorted Captain Ludwig’s Cochin Artwork Gallery at Princess Avenue in Fort Kochi, the place her expertise was recognised. She additionally labored with the Cochin Company for 5 years on their girls and youngsters scheme. Consciousness programmes at grassroot stage. She additionally started writing poetry and co-authored an anthology with German artist Lieselotte Stieger.

Girls have been the topic of Victoria’s works, and this continues in her position as gallerist. “I’ve girls’s pursuits in thoughts. I like the topic: girls and youngsters,” says Victoria gazing on the brilliant pink bougainvillea flowers exterior her gallery.

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