The masterstrokes: 5 quirky art moments of 2014

  • Deekshita Baruah, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 25, 2014 17:04 IST

Art always gets you talking. While some arouse awe and admiration, others just stir up pure outrage and indignation. But who are we to complain? What might be glorifying for one might just turn out to be absolute baloney for someone else.

And as Jonathan Swift said, "Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others."

But what we are about to show you is unadulterated fun. We've listed a a few quirky moments in the world of art in 2014 that caught our attention. Take a look.

Challenging stereotype through art
Women, universally, are often scrutinised for their public appearance and constant attempts are made to control their bodies, behaviour and identities in society.

Observing these flaws in the representation of women led Brazilian graphic artist Carol Rossetti to tell their stories through a series of illustrations that garnered overwhelming online response.

This is how "The Women Project", which can be accessed at, came into being.

In one of the illustrations, a slightly plump Amanda, against a pastel brown background, is wearing a red off-shoulder-high-slit gown that reveals her unshaven leg. She doesn't look ashamed. In another picture, an old woman in a two-piece bikini looks comfortable, not bothered about her sagging skin.

It features an impressive range of topics like rape, body image, and sexism where the 26-year-old has challenged these age-old stereotypical beliefs and substituted them with empowering words like self-esteem, identity, self-respect, and many more.

For inspiration, all she had to do was to look around her friends' circle, observe and address her personal insecurities.

For the love of selfies and doodles

Here is proof that selfies can be fun and creative.

Helene Meldahl a 26-year-old Norwegian artist, living in Norway and U.S. is known for her unique doodles on mirrors using paint and water-based markers.

Her journey started with these small drawings on the bathroom mirror that she used to leave for her roommate in the morning. One day she turned it into a selfie and posted it online. And as they say, the rest is history!

The artist takes inspiration from pop culture icons and also draws imaginary scenes on mirrors, before taking a picture of herself with the artwork. It takes her around 20-30 minutes to finish a doodle. Her Instagram account reads 'mirrorsme: Born doodler. I draw on mirrors and glass'.

Meldahl have always been doodling on things like schoolbooks or napkins. For her it kind of comes natural to draw.

World's first sex exhibition

With over 200 erotic objects, a sex exhibition titled "The Institute of Sexology" was opened for public at the prestigious Wellcome Collection in London on Nov 20.

The exhibition investigated how the practice of sex research has shaped ever-evolving attitudes towards sexual behaviour and identity. Moving between pathologies of perversion and contested ideas of normality, it showed how sex has been observed, analysed and questioned from the late 19th century to the present day.

The exhibition featured works of leading sexologists Sigmund Freud, Marie Stopes, Alfred Kinsey, William Masters and Virginia Johnson and contemporary artworks exploring sexual identity by artists Zanele Muholi, John Stezaker, Sharon Hayes and Timothy Archibald.

Paintings by Indian elephant Phoolkali

The brainchild of artist Alpana Ahuja, a series of paintings by an Indian elephant called Phoolkali went on sale in September at an upmarket gallery in New Delhi to raise money to protect the endangered animal.

Ahuja used baskets of bananas and other treats to lure Phoolkali, who was rescued from her abusive owners, to create her masterpieces -- giant footprints in bright hues.

The trick was to catch the elephant in a good mood, dab paint on its foot and press it against a giant canvas. The artworks were priced between $165 and $400.

The World Wildlife Fund estimates the population of the Indian elephant between 20,000- 25,000. They are often kept in pathetic conditions by their masters and trafficked illegally. Crazy as it sounds, it was all for a good cause!

The smile debate

An Italian historian propagated a theory that Mona Lisa might be a Chinese slave and Leonardo da Vinci's mother.

Angelo Paratico, a Hong Kong-based historian and novelist from Italy stated: "One wealthy client of Leonardo's father had a slave called Caterina. After 1452, Leonardo's date of birth, she disappeared from the documents. On the back of Mona Lisa, there is a Chinese landscape and even her face looks Chinese."

Little is known about Caterina, the mother of the artist, writer, mathematician and inventor, and the identity of the sitter for the portrait hanging in Paris' Louvre museum has long been a matter of debate.

Paratico, who is finishing a book entitled Leonardo da Vinci: a Chinese scholar lost in Renaissance Italy, cited Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud's 1910 assumption that the painting was inspired by the artist's mother.

(Agency inputs)
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