Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) and the Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation, in collaboration with the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art presents the critically acclaimed solo exhibition Jayashree Chakravarty Earth as Haven: under the canopy of love, for the first time in India at the Jehangir Nicholson Gallery, Mumbai. This exhibition is supported by Akar Prakar.
Jayashree Chakravarty Earth as Haven: under the canopy of love , comes to India following the highly successful and critically acclaimed first showing at the prestigious Musée National Des Arts Asiatiques, Guimet, Paris in October 2017. This was one of the most enterprising undertakings by Jayashree Chakravarty, responding to the specificity of the site, setting and scale which responded to the circular plan of the Guimet’s Carte Blanche space.
Curated by Director of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Roobina Karode, the installation responds to the particular physicality of the site, audiences encounter large, suspended paper structures, a network of imaginary forms inspired by the minute intricacies of insect dwellings like wasp nests and cocoons. Enlarged to massive proportions, the vast structures absorb and immerse the viewer inviting them into a sensual yet disturbing insectile environment. Bare from the outside, the womb-like entrance is mysterious with a sensual earthiness and a dark layered interior, which on closer examination unfolds layer after layer of detailed natural motifs and a delicate ribbed armature that echoes, a more familiar and urban scape — the random and unruly composition of shanty towns and tiny human dwellings scattered over the city of Kolkata. Alluding to a variety of structural architectonic forms and incorporating a series of explorations in materiality, Chakravarty plays with the highly geometric to the organic, embellishing her meticulous symmetry of forms with sequins and beads, to parallel the delicacy of insect wings and the slender ribbed-vaults of Gothic architecture. The work is constructed with cotton fabric, handmade Nepali lepcha paper, tissue paper, jute, dry leaves, animated with tea stains and synthetic glue.
Chakravarty appears to trace her own Shantiniketan background incorporating the distinctive linearity of Rabindranath Tagore’s style, and Ramkinkar Baij’s exquisite draughtsmanship. Hanging slightly above the ground, her installation appears as a slow crawling form. When viewed from a far, the partly visible feet of visitors inside the exoskeleton resemble the multiple legs of a moving creature.
Jayashree Chakravarty (b. 1956) studied at Viswa Bharati in the sprawling natural environs of Santiniketan, a school founded by Rabindranath Tagore who encouraged learning in the open and under the shade of a tree, and then at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the MS University of Baroda, where she was exposed to an urban/contemporary sensibility. Her visual register constituted of natural and urban spaces, caught in phases of disparity and confrontation. She was influenced by Indian artists from the preceding generation, mainly Ganesh Pyne, Somnath Hore and K.G.Subramanyan whose breadth of vision opened up the innumerable possibilities of art making for successive generations. She completed her B.F.A, from Kala Bhavana, Viswa Bharati University, Santiniketan and later she pursued her Post-Diploma in Painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. She was also an artist in residence at Aix en Provence from 1993-95 where she was influenced in the formative years of her practice by the French movement Supports/Surfaces , especially by Claude Viallat and also had conversations with some of the group members at the time. Willem de Kooning, Kiefer, Eva Hesse, Kiki Smith and Anish Kapoor have remained an inspiration to her.
Jayashree’s distinctive art practice over the last three decades has expressed her deep concerns related to ecology and environmental catastrophe. Inventing her own art making techniques, using organic material and varied kinds of papers, her installations in the form of paper scrolls remain unique in their conceptions and execution.
The artist has had several exhibitions with Gallery Akar Prakar, having shown last year at Musée Des Art Asiatique, Nice, in collaboration with KNMA, New Delhi, Embassy of India in France and ICCR. In 2016, solo show at Vadehra Art Gallery in New Delhi, followed by Unfolding Kuchinan presented by Akar Prakar, Kolkata. Her works were also showcased in Continuing Traditions, at Musee Toile de Jouy, France in collaboration with Akar Prakar in 2015. Jayashree has shown at various exhibitions in India and abroad including Aicon Gallery, Singapore Art Museum, Gallery Chemould Prescott, Vadehra Art Gallery, Jehangir Art Gallery, CIMA, NGMA, Mumbai, The Art Centre, Akar Prakar and Religare Art among others. In 2011 she was part of Enduring Legacy , by Akar Prakar, at Galerie Neumeister Munchen, the Indian Embassy, Berlin along with the ICCR & Indien Institut, and most recently at Musée National Des Arts Asiatiques, Guimet, Paris . The artist lives and works in Kolkata, India.