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Bringing back the bygone era with a brush and colours

THE ASIAN AGE. | RAJKUMARI TANKHA
Published : May 9, 2018, 1:12 am IST
Updated : May 9, 2018, 1:12 am IST

For the show, the works are divided into three sections, each celebrating all things vintage.

“My work is about objects used in our day to day lives, which are now rarely used or just lying rusted in a corner,” states Jasleena.
 “My work is about objects used in our day to day lives, which are now rarely used or just lying rusted in a corner,” states Jasleena.

Jasleena’s deft use of old texts and paper, calligraphy and different fonts on her canvas as a background makes the bond even more stronger and clear, whilst preserving the physical vanity of the objects and elements of the bygone era

Artist Jasleena Singh always had a special love for the realist elements of objects around her. Old objects, papers and heirlooms always attracted her. That one day this love of hers will culminate into a full-fledged exhibition, she didn’t know. But it did. And Jasleena is all set to portray it at Yesterday Once More. Yes, that’s the title of her painting show that begins on May 11 at Lalit Kala Akademi.

This is Jasleena’s maiden solo show, and it will remain open for viewers till May 17.

Though the artist was drawn towards old artefacts ever since she can remember the exploration of this theme sparked during the time she was doing her MFA at the College of Art, Delhi, three years back. That was the time she began working on these humble objects like an old family radio, a typewriter, a cane chair, old mugs, a rosay — these all become a part of her subjects created in the realist form. Yesterday Once More is the first compilation of her whole series of work for the first time in one space. “The painting titled Rosary is the oldest one in the series,” she quips.

For the show, the works are divided into three sections, each celebrating all things vintage. Each of the three series — the lantern series, the tea series and the retro series, is a little study of still life and socio cultural lifestyles that go back to deeper reflections.

This debut positions her as a follower of decadence and reflects that she values and treasures beautiful poetic forms in objects and what she deems as “perfect workmanship” which makes any subject admirable and worthy of appreciation — that’s the beauty of the aesthetics of decadence.

“Such works on old, tarnished and rusted objects have a story to tell, in their own respect. I have only played with their different moods and thoughts from a different time, by placing them in present time, using a bit of artistic freedom,” she says.

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“My work is about objects used in our day to day lives, which are now rarely used or just lying rusted in a corner,” states Jasleena. “This body of work is fuelled with old school styling and day-to-day used instruments. I believe life is about cherishing our history and reminiscing the past. These works include my very own personal take on art with joy and pastel shades of the retro era. Ranging from literal interpretations to metaphorical synthesis, these paintings incorporate dreams, emotions and expressions that influence my work. This old-world charm is the essence of my work, and I create humble still life studies through these elements of daily use.”

Jasleena’s deft use of old texts and paper, calligraphy and different fonts on her canvas as a background makes the bond even more stronger and clear, whilst preserving the physical vanity of the objects and elements of the bygone era.

Portraying the ever-growing sentiments, local histories and narratives of folklore and tradition, her works are a manifestation of her muse in realistic experimental form.

In a way, the paintings reflect an era through which India’s culture has grown. “Such objects exist to be our superstructures like our monuments as a reminder of an era where all this was an essential part,” says Jasleena, adding, “Through this body of work I am trying to portray the rich legacy and cultural history of our bygone era, while showing the displacement and migration, which was hence brought to independence after a huge long struggle.”

“But how viewers will take to these work, I am not sure. I am taking my chances with this body of work , would love to see reaction of people towards it,” she admits candidly.

Just as she enjoys painting old objects, Jasleena loves exploring old places. Markets like Daryaganj and Chandni Chowk top her list of “places to visit” rather than the posh south Delhi shopping malls.

Art came naturally to Jasleena  as her father is a professional artist. So, when she evinced her interest in art, there wasn’t any opposition to it. Unlike in other families where parents are more interested that their kids take up academic subjects and careers, Jasleena’s parents allowed her free will. “Colours and imagery of objects in their respective moods, give you an immense freedom and expression,” she remarks.

She specialises in ink and acrylic painting, with support mediums like canvas and wood. But her current favourite is old paper — postcards, old novel pages, etc.

Quite naturally, her first inspiration was her father. But as she grew older, she drew inspiration from Italian artist Giorgio Morandi for the way “he has achieved sublime level with his still life painting”. Another name that inspires her is French painter Henri de Toulouse Lautrec.

She also teaches art, though part time only. “In today’s world it’s a bit difficult to sustain only on painting, unless one has a great financial support system or good name in the field. That’s the reason I take art classes, and also commercial projects related to painting that come my way,” she says.

So what next? “There’s a lot to be explored and discovered. I plan on working with different mediums and techniques, with a plethora of objects to be explored along the way,” she signs off.

Tags: cultural lifestyles, heirlooms, jasleena