Friday, May 24, 2013

Passionate portrayal of female forms and concerns

B. Prabha is best known for her inimitable and instantly recognizable style of fascinating figures mostly of ubiquitous rural womenfolk. Rather pensive looking, their graceful elongated features invariably holds your attention.

Indeed, a significant aspect of the artist’s body of work was her effort to portray the plight of women from different strata of society, who silently suffered without raising a murmur. She tried to give voice to them. Her representation of the fisherwomen of Mumbai was indeed unique.

B. Prabha portrayed these simple, rustic women and their immense willpower to struggle and survive against all odds. Their appearance with distinctive hairstyles and bright sarees accentuating their distinct persona depicted in her inimitable style formed the core of her practice.

As she matured as an artist, she developed an elegant, formal style, which was very much characteristic of her artistic excellence that she reached through her immense perseverance and intense observation. Her career graph, encompassing her journey from a humble village to hustle-bustle of a city was quite interesting. She dreamt to become an artist at a time when there were not that many successful women artists around in India.

Her paintings covered a wide gamut of subjects and themes, from languid landscapes to pressing social issues like hunger and homelessness. But the core theme of her paintings was always women and their sufferings. Over time, her yearning for simplicity, even as she dealt with the complexities of life, drew her to oils. Particularly moved by the struggles of rural women, who soon turned the core theme of her oeuvre, the sensitive artist developed an elegant, formal style.

The subject matter and the style remained her trademark. The prevailing social realities, the hardships and oppression that women faced and their unexpressed sentiments as they faced life with a sort of numbness influenced her practice. She made a strong statement on the same through her art akin to odes to their spirit and the endless plight.

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