Monday, March 25, 2013

An artist shaped by her global sojourns and influences

After studying graphic design and illustration at Ahmedabad’s National Institute of Design (NID), Angeli Sowani’s global sojourn began in 1988, taking her to several countries, including Hong Kong, Thailand, Nepal and the UK. Each geographical transition filled her mind with a moving or motivating experience, and shaped her thought processes.

It offered her a new enriching landscape - the sight of bloody sacrifices to deities in Nepal; the Ancestor paintings, seals and votive papers burnt in sacred offering to the Gods in HK; or the Buddhist imagery and usage of gold leaf in Thailand – the varied experiences left a permanent imprint on her sensitive mind. A case in point is her ‘Duality’, ‘Mantra’ and ‘Ancestor’ series (1997- 2002).

Each new voyage into unfamiliar terrains led to heightened sensitivity and enhanced curiosity. She has stated: “I found myself engulfed and enthralled by new visual imagery, stimuli and differing practices. Assimilating and internalizing them over time acted as an inspiration for my work. While the East led to a reinforcement of Hindu and Buddhist imagery and symbolism, the UK provided a sharp contrast in terms of color, light and even subject matter.

The vibrant colors, the hustle & the heat of the Orient gave way to the mellow textures and light filtering through the cathedrals’ stained glass windows. Her first London show, entitled ‘Identity in Abstraction’ (2004), underlined an apparent change in her choice of palette and motifs. The artist has revealed: “I was inspired by the flagstones and the interplay of light and shade in the interior of the Cathedral and the tree-lined streets of Winchester.”

Multiple influences and inspirations thanks to her exposure to different cultures, rituals and religions are blended into a harmonious construct of serene expression and deep meaning in her work. She indeed is an artist greatly shaped by her global sojourns and influences...

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