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Learning to fly

art and culture Updated: Feb 06, 2011 14:09 IST
Shweta Mehta
Shweta Mehta
Hindustan Times
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Her paintings continue to be as symbolic of our intrinsic culture, but Anjolie Ela Menon believes that her latest exhibition in the city has one theme, which sets it apart from her previous works.

“These paintings have been done over a span of five years, but if there’s an overriding theme, it is that while my earlier work was very grounded, figures in this one are beginning to fly and levitate. There’s a sense of height,” she explains.

And what inspired this transition? “There are no reasons for moving from one phase of work to another— it just happens,” she says. “As for inspiration, you never know where it comes from. My early works were very European due to my upbringing. My American grandmother insisted that I get a heavy dose of Western culture. The Indian influences crept in only much later, after I got married and went to Kerala.”

Art for all
With her unarguably visceral sense of the new and upcoming— be it trends or technology, it is no surprise that Menon has attracted a flurry of admirers and impersonators alike. Her works are also among the most copied, but the artist barely considers this form of imitation flattering. “Back in 1999, I was the first to use computers. Now everyone’s doing it. My earlier exhibition, Gods and Others, had also sparked off a trend,” she says. “In the case of fakes, I don’t think it’s aimed at giving the common man more access to our art; it’s just sheer greed.”

Group therapy
In the city for a group show with SH Raza and Sakti Burman, Menon is thrilled to be sharing gallery space with the two icons. “Razaji and I were born almost 20 years apart and we come from two different generation of artists, so to be considered in the same league as him is a great honour,” she beams.

Meanwhile, Menon is slowly shifting her focus to public art. “It’s a lot more satisfying because so many more people get to see it,” she reasons. Her dream project at the moment is to display her works at a park in New Delhi, where she resides. “I’m still in the process of finding a park, but I would love for it to be a place where I can show paintings that bridge the gap between the very old and the current.”

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