(Art Review :: Volume 2)
Manisha Vedpathak’s series, inspired by her experiences of Ghana, reveals her openness to cross-cultural interface and her inherent ability to absorb, integrate, transform and create out of the unfamiliar. In a world that is increasingly making way for spaces that encourage the coming together of people, cultures and sensibilities of various orders, she responds to the need for an artist to go deeper into the self and find connections in the context of the diverse and so be able to transcend difference by recognising the uniqueness of each and the connectedness of all.
She is able to achieve this because inherent in her process of creation is an acute awareness of herself, the moment that she is in and the collective experience that she has assimilated. “I begin,” she says, “with a blank canvas, as if looking at a blank wall. The work begins with an idea or a form and I use my skill to help it become.” So what emerges on the canvas is the result of her engagement with what her senses have absorbed and her physical self has experienced – brought together by ideas and emotions and crafted by her artistic sensibility and technique. Hers is ‘engaged art’ at its strongest and most authentic.
This is precisely the reason why the people and culture of Ghana come alive in this series so vividly and in such an aesthetically powerful manner. Her bold use of colours, rhythmic forms, energetic yet carefully wrought textures, brought together by naturally balanced compositions, give each work a strength of its own.
Interestingly, she is both present and absent in each canvas. Present because of her engagement with the subject and absent because of her ability to give life to each frame – for itself and its own cultural identity.
It is evident in this series that the artist is stimulated by external stimuli – colours, forms and textures of Ghanian.