“We were sensitized in NID before going out to do projects with the craft clusters. As a student one had to stay in their environment to understand their rudimentary means. It was basically about learning their skillset while humbly playing the role of an intermediary, not god or master” quips the Hyderabad based artist – Shaila Nambiar. Having done Fine Arts from MSU Baroda in 1996, she later also got a degree in Textile Designing from NID, in 2003.
Trained as a painter in Baroda, she started using different materials to widen her horizons. That led to experimenting with aluminium, iron, wood, fishnet wires, fibre cast and collaborating with many craftsmen. It was at MSU and NID that the young lady truly discovered herself, since no one in her family had an artistic background. Though remotely she remembers her mother keeping cut-outs of celebrities doing everyday odd jobs. And father toying with ‘jugaad’ to tackle all problems at home (a typical Indian way of arriving at ingenuity).
“I was born in Kerala, brought up in Baroda, and now am married and settled in Hyderabad, to a film director. Ever since childhood I have been collecting dry leaves, stones, packaging boxes of toiletries. Infact, my mother quietly kept aside soap and toothpaste boxes to add to my collection. But lately, my interests have digressed to cooking, love for utensils in ceramics, kansa and brass as I enjoy having people over” Shaila talks about her stress-busters.
Further trying to make sense of her art language she states “The studio is in my house. My home is very minimalistic so in my head I cannot deal with clutter. In terms of form I have always been clear, but maybe not so much with material…. thought leads to drawing which further matures with material.”
Having quirkily portrayed the notions of beauty thrust upon women her narration too is simple, “We artists are like activists so I like to be in the moment, informed, in-sync with the times and aware of trends. As the lines blur between the two sexes in the fight of equality women are being openly cornered and scrutinized. Pressure seems to be increasing every day. This series is a protest of sorts. I have used a lady’s everyday dress-up accessories like safety pins, hooks, hairbrush and bobby pins to state the obvious gender bias in the society.”
In this fast paced world art has become more real with many styles and mini movements. Many artists are reflecting, discovering and inventing their perspectives into an individual one; a familiar undertone without being banal.
Seek out ‘Vocabularies’ – the show continues till 31st May 2018 at Gallery Art Positive, Lado Sarai, New Delhi.