Women form the stars, the focal point in the immersive visual narratives of award-winning artist Santosh Jain

For septuagenarian self-taught artist Santosh Jain, it was a natural progression to shape her collection of artworks titled She’s In the Streets, She’s in the Stars while drawing in her experiences spanning seven decades. Women form the crux of her experiences spanning seven decades. Women form the crux of her expressions and are the pivotal points in all their strength and resilience.

Why women? “A lot of my work explores narratives around women, where I see them as emotional beings, silent sufferers, pillars of strength and also game players,” shares Santosh. “There is both sympathy and empathy. The collection at Method Kalaghoda in Mumbai recently had a series of artworks created during different periods of my life. In all the works, women enjoy the centre stage. A few works are layered personal narratives, some are a comment on the treatment of women in society —  her emotions, desires and hopes that are often pushed back to serve the patriarchal system. These works are a second language that allow me to freely share long-forgotten episodes of my lifetime, my innermost feelings. Sometimes the same woman recurs in multiple artworks, and sometimes her presence is fleeting, though no less important. The women in my artwork are you, they are me. They are in the stars, they are in the streets.” 

Fluid forms

By using mediums as a language of expression, Santosh’s artistic ruminations over the years have included lithographs, charcoals, paintings and photographs, and more recently digital landscapes. She picked up the camera at 62 and decided to explore digital art.  In this series, there are fluid forms: in animal shadows that move through the artworks with transient ease. As do male forms. “Art for me is a second language and helps me express my inner concerns. While women are the central character in my stories, there is no story without the man.

Shilpi Madan for Sunday Standard

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