Devi by Kanchan Chander
36 x 60 in.
Acrylic on Canvas
But I was not made with a fire in my belly
So I could be put out
I was not made with a lightness in my tongue
So I could be easy to swallow
I was made heavy
Half blade half silk
– Rupi Kaur
Devi was painted by New Delhi based Visual Artist Kanchan Chander, one of the most well recognised artists in Indian Contemporary Art. Kanchansart, born in 1957 in New Delhi; received her formal education degrees in Painting and Printmaking from colleges like the Kunsthochschule Berlin Weißensee in Berlin; the College of Art in Delhi; EcoleDesBeauxArts in Paris and the ArtSchool at Santiago in Chile. She received a grant from the British Council to study Contemporary Art trends, and a scholarship from the French government to study printmaking at Ecole Des Beaux Arts. Her work reflects a worldly take on inspiration, interpretation and technique while a big part of her oeuvre remains female-centric and Indian. She has organised multiple exhibitions in Art Centrix Space , New Delhi, Galerie Gondwana, Berlin and Miyasaka Gallery, Tokyo, among others, and has been awarded numerous times over her illustrious career.
Devi resonates with Chander’s speciality as a painter, in both its technique and theme. The woman semi floating on the canvas, with one foot on a tortoise (an emblem of stability) and has an extremely spiritual bent, suggesting a deification of the female, which is a common motif in Chander’s paintings. Another hallmark of Chander’s paintings is the highly decorative, almost craft-like way she has of filling her canvas with various icons like the florals, the tortoise, shells and people in the top of the canvas. The colours in the painting suggest energy and vitality, in aggressive reds and fertile greens. The depiction of women as both on display and reverential, as an important part of the continuing life force of the world is a common thread in all of Chander’s Devi paintings. In her own opinion, it forces the viewer to shed the male gaze, being refreshingly de-sexualised, painting a woman as she is, making the viewer see the female form in a way that goes beyond matronly and/or sensual.
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Sources of inspiration:
- An Ode to Womanhood
- Meet Kanchan Chander: The Artist Who Forces Her Audience To Shed The Male Gaze
- Indian art’s masters of popular aesthetics
- Art Reflect: Kanchan Chander
- Art Centrix: Kanchan Chandar
Artwork image courtesy: Mojarto
Artist image: Kanchan Chander via Facebook