Internationally acclaimed painter, Sravanthi Juluri recently launched the exhibition of her new works at Goethe Zentrum, Hyderabad, 6 November 2016. However, this time, she struck a different note. Her creations were creatively adorned by a short play titled, "Tvameham". Derived from Sanksrit, "Tvameham" means, "I am You and You are me".
Through this dramatic performance, she welcomed the audience into her world of colors, strokes, sounds and beauty. Sravanthi ushered her art with the affirmation that artists are not geniuses working in recluse but human souls alive with love for the world and its people.
However, people are often full of questions about her work. And Sravanthi wishes to answer them through her performance. She responds to their childlike insistence to attach meanings, labels and categories to objects born out of the deep crevices of her mind. She does more than the needful to familiarize us with her work. Her answers were beautifully etched out in her dramatic performance. Along with Lanka Vaishnavi who played her alter ego and her son Avish Juluri, Sravanthi put up an unforgettable show.
Sravanthi's works are popularly identified with the Abstract genre. They are startling, beautiful and complete in themselves. The gorgeous ravines and rivulets of colours, patterns seem not formless, but concrete expressions of a creative, meditative and emotionally powerful soul. Sravanthi's latest collection is based on the Nine Rasas of Bhartha Muni. They were curated by city based artist and curator, Koeli Mukherjee Ghose.
|Myriad Emotions of the Artist|
|Little Gem: Avish Juluri|
Ecstatic as I was after her performance, I was also filled with questions. I thank Sravanthi for taking time out and answering them.
Eleven Questions with Sravanthi Juluri
1. What does Art/ Painting mean to you? Is it a catharsis or an escape?
Art, for me has always been a deep rooted expression of an artist's thoughts. I always say that my paintings/creations are an extension of who I am and what I think. I never thought of my art as an escape but more like an explosion of emotions. My work had been a catharsis during my struggle with a personal turmoil; When I was fighting a long legal battle against domestic violence, I met many women who were survivors of sexual abuse, violence etc. It was a personal connection that I felt with them and my paintings at that time expressed my feelings about atrocities against women and the girl child. Each painting expressed many emotions. I used a lot of symbolism and depicted the loss of innocence in morbid situations. It left a deep rooted impact not just on me but also on my viewers. I felt these works acted as a cathartic medium not just for me but also to many women.
2. Popularly your work has been identified with the “abstract” genre. Do you agree with such a categorization?
Though I had been doing a lot of paintings which was very symbolic using metaphors that I connected deeply with, now I am working in the abstract form. I feel abstraction is my calling as it creates a stronger connection between the art and the artist. I agree with the categorization but would not like to limit myself.
Emotions! When I look back at a certain experience and the emotions that churned in me, I have a strong urge to capture it. I paint the energy that I felt when feeling these emotions. And I believe emotions cannot be contained, just like the energy they give or take from us.
I definitely feel intense energy flow through me when I see Pollock's work. I also connect with Frida Khalo's work at a very deep emotional level.
4.What other forms of art have influenced your work? Any
favorite writer, musician, dancer?
Well, I was first introduced to the world of art through glass arts. I had my roots in glass arts, be it stained glass, glass blowing, sculpting. The vivid colors of molten glass being manipulated, still runs in my head and to a great extent still influences my style of painting. I thrive on music to create. Like I said, emotions make me create, and when I start painting I need myself to remain in the same state of mind, and to achieve that I listen to music. I would say the choice or influence of music always depends on what emotion I am expressing.
5. What are the difficulties that you face as an artist? (social, cultural, emotional, psychological)
An artist's life is a roller coaster ride! I should say being from a family with a creative background, I was blessed with the understanding and a need to constantly express. But I would constantly get asked questions on my choice of career, why an artist? Why not an actress like my mom? Which was quite difficult to answer when I started my career at 21. I feel there is a wider scope and acceptance for an artist today than compared to when I started. But I still feel it comes with a little stereotypical notions of the mind of an artist at times. Psychologically and emotionally it does get challenging when people tend to judge you and throw questions on the need to express as an artist. And my recent show is an answer to all the questions thrown on me by people who look at art through a key hole.
6. Besides the romantic dimension, art has a commercial function. Could you let us know about the present market demand for art by Indian artists?
Today, there is a bigger platform for Indian artists on the global front and it is not limited to the artists who work with a particular genre that, for example, showcases Indian deities or rustic Indian scenarios anymore. We are gaining
appreciation and market for works that are different and expresses something unique.
7. You have based your work on Bharatamuni’s nava-rasa. Which one of the Rasas was the most difficult to realize on the canvas?
I felt that each Rasa had its own significance and challenge. As in my performance, each Rasa had a narration from the Ancient Hindu scriptures and at the same time connecting its significance to the present day incidences was a challenge to create, it also required me to put myself in that space to be able to pour down my emotion in creating a painting that depicts these dialogues and emotions. Disgust was an emotion that was particularly challenging as we spoke to Lord Shiva, the aftermath of death, decomposing bodies, self realization and that death is evident, natural calamities and war killing people, and for me being a deeply spiritual person, death is viewed through a very different perceptive.
8. Art for art sake or art for society’s sake?
Art for the sake of connecting within!
9. Which is more influential in your work: Emotions or Technique?
Emotions play the highest role. But my technique is the test! Manipulating liters of paint requires lot of skill.
10. Any suggestion to budding women artists?
Follow your heart and gut instinct! I believed in myself, my creations and stood firmly by my faith. I never gave in to the words of people that I needed to change my genre. Dare yourself!
11. What are your future art goals?
Honestly? Paint till the world runs out of color! But on a serious note, I am working on expressing strong spirituality based on ancient Indian texts that people can connect with in simple forms through my work.