Art News & Views

The Other Self by Anupam Sud at Art Heritage, New Delhi

by Uma Prakash


Anupam Sud's recent body of work exhibited in Delhi portrays her skill in several mediums. Although known as one of the finest printmakers among the new generation of artists in India, her control on oil, watercolors and sculpture proves her versatility. Sud addresses the importance of recognizing the Other Self within us as she explores different aspects of life that have engaged her in her journey of self realisation.

After studying under great artists like Somenath Hore and Jagmohan Chopra she further honed her artistic skills at the Slade School of Art, University College, London. She has taught printmaking and painting for the past four decades. By multitasking she has managed to balance the role of a teacher, caring daughter and an artist with an unique visual language.

Sud's focus on her firmly drawn figures of men and women reflect her father who was a bodybuilder and herself a keen hockey player. Shrouded in mystery, the bare bodies and shaven heads accentuate her insight into the psychological tensions between the two sexes in life. Sud has also addressed various feminine issues through her art.

“Musculature was something I discovered through tactile sensation rather than through the eyes. In fact I don't trust my eyes as much as I do my hands and even today when I need to be sure I refer to my own body and its structure before I draw” Sud has said in one of her interviews.

Dressing for a journey is a very poignant piece. It looks like a collection of family photographs taken from an old family album. It portrays her sibling as young children and her mother as a young woman. In the foreground there is her double self portrait sitting in front of the mirror applying lipstick. In a disturbing contrast is her father painted as an old man surrounded by hospital paraphernalia like wheel chair, glucose, drip and bandages. This many layered piece covers old age, youth, love, responsibility and reflects on the trials of guilt encountered by many, who are torn between individual aspirations and family responsibility. However it is again the father whom she could not bear to leave at home alone when she went to study at the Delhi School of Art. She took him along and requested him to pose for her in her portraits and created a bronze sculpture Father.

Sud's Impasse 2003 is a triptych, created with acrylic on canvas of an ordinary woman sitting on her haunches. Sud creates more drama by adding two identical images on either side in different hues of brown to the central black image. The artist's experience and skill is evident in this painting.

Ardhanariswar in layers of watercolor washes reveals the artist's control on colour and the medium. She projects the half man and half woman image, in search for the other self. Indeed her voyage into self discovery and experiment are intense in this painting.

The exhibition traces the artist's trajectory from printing, etching, watercolours to sculpture. Her exquisite masks created for the play Enendira add yet another dimension to her creativity.


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