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A Note On Remembrance

A review of the exhibition ‘A Note on Remembrance’ that was held from June 15 to July 14, 2019 at the Kalakriti Art Gallery in Hyderabad.

Ekta Singha, Memories Slipping Through Fragile hands Of Time, Gouache, watercolour, graphite, and nepali handmade paper pasted on linen cloth, 26″ x 41″, 2019.

A promising young artist who is well-known for her multi-layered works, Ekta Singha effortlessly synthesises various elements that she draws upon to create a visual language of her own. Using varied sources such as old photographs, found material, burnt paper, etc., she finds ways to bring together metaphorical and personal references to explore experiences, both her own and otherwise. Often using handcrafted papers with jali patterns from Islamic architecture, she uses the layers, both visual and metaphorical, to control the gaze of the viewer while also inviting them to look beyond merely what is put before their eyes. The focal point of Singha’s work, however, is the amalgamation of the traditions of miniature paintings and pata scroll paintings. While borrowing from miniature paintings helps her create the desired pictorial nature of her works, the expansiveness of the pata scroll paintings lend a feeling of movement and vastness to the narrative.

Ekta Singha, Still Find Some Place Anyway III, Mixed media on wasli paper, 14″ x 9″, 2019.

Apart from this, the recurring usage of patterns is impossible to miss. The artist stresses upon the importance of patterns as tools which have the potential to completely transform one’s experiences. Further illustrating the diversity of her sources and inspiration, the artist also regularly draws upon her ancestry and lineage from Bangladesh. Some of her works even contain figuration as commentary on body politics. Though every single one of these elements form a small part of a narrative of their own, Singha’s mastery shines through in the way she manages to draw out a single with an endlessly complex narrative, engaging the viewer both emotionally and intellectually.

Ekta Singha, Her Family, Gouache on wasli paper, 15″ x 11″, 2019.

Standing in stark contrast to Wallace Stevens’ On the Road Home where he says ‘in the sum of the parts there are only the parts’, Ekta Singha’s work confidently demonstrates that sometimes the sum is definitely greater than the parts.

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