African Odyssey, an exhibition of over 34 paintings by Premila Singh, starting on Saturday at Quill and Canvas, promises to give a close peek into the culture and life of the subcontinent, famous for its struggle against colour.
Singh, who has been living in Johannesburg since she was 17, has travelled across the continent extensively. She tries to capture the beauty of South African people on her canvas.
“What attracts me the most about Africa is its people. They are warm and generous. Due to my work I got a chance to interact closely with them, and I was touched by their warmth,” says Singh. No wonder, each painting depicting the tribes of Africa manages to hold your attention, be it the semi-nude Venda woman in the river or the Masai tribe clad in their traditional garb.
Terming it an eulogy to woman, she says, “My paintings are a tribute to women of this region. I think they are beautiful and graceful, although they were suppressed for centuries.” She has even painted a black Madonna as a tribute to their beauty.
Most of the paintings show women of various tribes like Zulu, Ndebele and Bantwane in their natural environments. While the Ndebele women are adorned with beautiful rings in the neck, hand and ankles, which remind you of the Marwari women in Rajasthan, the Zulu women look pretty adorned with colourful beads in the neck and hair.
The landscapes depicting Cape Town catch your attention with their bright colours and natural beauty. The canvas depicting the vineyards of Cape Town in bright green is particularly worth a second look.
“I love the culture and bright colours of Africa, which are so similar with India,” says Singh. If you are bored of canvas and searching for some new medium, then you must head here. Singh's daughter, Leenika, has incorporated some paintings of the artist in furniture, giving them an antique and old-world charm.
The sturdy wooden chair with a painting of the Zulu tribe on the backrest is interesting. There are also old-world cabinets with traditional art on them to beautify your home.
The exhibition will be inaugurated by Johannes Olivia, first secretary, South African High Commission.