Artist Sonali Chaudhari’s ruminations on canvas spell gateway to freedom

rtist Sonali Chaudhari’s works depict doors, trees, and women — as symbols of the transformation of the human spirit and the journey from darkness to light.

“In many of my paintings, you will see doors, trees, and female figures. The doors are the new doors opening in my life, the trees are a constant reminder that we are here because of Mother Nature and not vice versa, and the female figures represent me and my subconscious or even the collective consciousness of all womanhood,” says artist Sonali Chaudhari, of her works that trace the transformation of the human spirit from bondage to freedom, from darkness to light and from the depths of despair to the pinnacles of pure bliss.

Born and raised in New Delhi, Sonali Chaudhari is an alumnus of the Delhi College of Art (1999). Her ruminations on canvas bring forth experiments with texture and colour. “All I can do as an artist is put my innermost thoughts and feelings onto the canvas. Their interpretation is up to you,” she smiles. How has the female form evolved through her works — as a woman artist, does she sometimes feel that it is expected of her to dwell on female perspectives and thoughts in her works, and is this limiting in any way? “Being a woman, I strongly identify with the female form. Beginning with docile female forms early on that found their expression on my canvas, they have now evolved into more solid and bold interpretations of a woman’s inner strength,” shares Sonali.

“It is by no means expected of me to paint female forms just because I am a woman. Art is an expression, and each artist’s expression manifests differently. But growing up in a Bengali household, I used to see my grandmother, an artist herself, worshipping Goddess Durga and Goddess Kali. It was with her that I made my first drawings. I suppose this affects my work subconsciously, without being limiting in any way. Just like the many poses of a dancer, there are endless possibilities…

Shilpi Madan for Sunday Herald

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