Every artist’s creative process is a reflection of his varied life experiences, moments of joy and sadness that he has lived which emerge in his creative work and gets expressed through varied mediums.
Since I was a child, I have always loved the sea. I am attracted to its various facets. The sea shores, the fisher-folk, the animated fish market’s (the noisy masali bazaar), the boats around, the fish, the crows hovering around, the people milling around in a hurry and the noise have all inspired the artist in me.
The Koli’s are the original inhabitants of the 7 islands that eventually became Mumbai. The fisherwomen in their brightly coloured sarees form a lovely background to the grey coloured fish. Specially draped sarees tucked between the legs so that it doesn’t hamper movement, loads of bangles often green in colour, the heavy gold earrings and the huge mangalsutras. The large bindis, the lovely nose rings and of course the bright coloured fresh Gajras.
The wide smiles and cheerful attitudes, veils all the hard work that goes into her day that starts much earlier before the city wakes up. Balancing the huge load on the head and making its way to the markets is poetry in motion. Reflecting the aspirations of a confident India, mobiles and computers have made inroads in their lives, helping them to stay in touch with their customers and dear ones at the sea. But beneath all these changes, she still is a woman- Kind and caring, hardworking and capable, experiencing joys and sorrows, having hopes and aspirations. Standing shoulder to shoulder in a man’s world.
My sensitivities and inspirations have been shaped by my experiences with the community. Some of these thoughts have been expressed through lines and colours. In this journey, my attempt has been to bring out the “women” within the fisherwoman.
-Artist: Harshada Arvind Kolapkar