Art in the time of Lockdown: Sonali Chaudhari
Spending all my time in my studio, I was myself surprised by what manifested upon the canvas on certain occasions writes Sonali Chaudhari.
Uncertain times bring out the best & worst in us. The current pandemic raging through this world has given us an opportunity to see things with new eyes. As an artist, I have been blessed to spend my lockdown in my studio. We are all going through a massive change; a turning point in history. At such times, what goes through my mind, manifests itself upon my canvas. Spending all my time in my studio, I was myself surprised by what manifested upon the canvas on certain occasions.
Yet, as often happens in life, there are two sides to everything. The Coronavirus Pandemic wreaked havoc on human lives, killing thousands & plunging millions into the depths of poverty. Yet during the lockdown, it was as if Mother Nature was finally able to breathe. Parts of the ozone layer got healed since the roads were devoid of traffic. My painting titled ‘Mother Nature rests, as the pandemic rages’ depicts just that.
Sitting in isolation gives us time for introspection. I began to feel that the biggest pandemic on this planet are human beings themselves. We have destroyed her for our own gain. As artists, are we here to just please, or do we have the strength to depict the truth? I feel a deep need to ask ourselves that question. Our generation in particular has witnessed many turning points in history; computerisation & cutting edge technology becoming part of our daily lives is just one of them. This Pandemic is another. It is bound to change the entire course of history, beginning from the way we live to the way we love & interact. It is as if nature is saying “Stay apart, for you have created hell together!” Can we change this? I wonder. Time & tide wait for no man. Our human ego is bound to be humbled in front of nature’s rampage. So what is good in this? Maybe the clearing out of an old mindset. Maybe realising that we do not need everything we want. Maybe realising the difference between freedom & liberation. In such turbulent times, we also see the tremendous strength & resilience of the human spirit. Humanity is strong, the instinct to survive is strong & ultimately that will prevail.
In many of my paintings, you will see doors, trees & female figures. The doors are the new doors opening in my life, the trees are a constant reminder that we are here because of Mother Nature & not vice versa. The female figures represent me & my subconscious or even the collective consciousness of all womanhood. Who can say? All I can do as an artist is put my innermost thoughts & feeling onto the canvas. Interpreting it is upto you.
On a last note, I wish to pay my humble homage to the millions who are struggling out there, without jobs, without food & without medical facilities. I salute the strength of their spirit.
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