Women artists are now feeling encouraged

Tini Sara Anien, DH News Service, Mar 11 2018, 21:28 IST
Nita Kembhavi

For a long time, women artists did not have it easy. They had their own struggles to face and hurdles to cross. Making a space for themselves and getting recognised was a big challenge.

Fortunately, things are changing now. To begin with, there is a rise in the number of women gallery owners and art curators.

Architect-artist Nita Kembhavi says, "Earlier it was difficult to get spaces to display your work. But nowadays, there are more women gallery owners and art curators, who have made it easier for other artists to reach out to galleries and network."

To be successful, she says, "Luck plays a big role. Being at the right place at the right time matters a lot. Staying alert and being innovative is another requisite. You have to learn to work on your own terms and establish your own style. Individuality matters a lot."

Artist Bharati Sagar says, "Being a woman has worked as an advantage for me. The many life roles I've experienced have benefited my works."

"With time, one learns whom to turn to for constructive feedback. You should watch what other co-artists are doing and be aware of what's happening. One cannot just sit in a corner and keep painting if you want to be noticed," she adds.

Lack of networking

Girija Hariharan, a city-based muralist, points out that women do not ask for opportunities. "This could be because women lack confidence while men are good at networking and self-promoting. Women artists often underprice their own artwork," she adds.

"A recent study in the US claims that 51 percent of people graduating in fine arts are women yet not even one-third of them make it to the galleries with their works. I believe that the scenario is worse in India. In fact, how many woman artists do people know?" she asks.

"It is important to network and get continuous feedback. I share my works through WhatsApp and online social groups and analyse the feedback I get."

Art residency programmes for women should be made mandatory, she says. "There need to be dedicated spaces for art in the city," says Girija.

Not a cakewalk

Artist Shan Re feels that women are emotional than men and draw inspiration from their own lives. "My artistic language comes from intimate life experiences. I have also come to understand that you have to prove to yourself that you are a selling artist, otherwise no establishment will take them seriously."

"I have taken some risks myself. I've had a show without a price tag. It is not easy to manage during the struggling phase. There is financial hardship as well. I never gave up though. Some of my most meaningful and beautiful works were made during my most painful phase in life," she says.

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