River of Faith - Jayasri Burman: Bikaner House - New Delhi

11 - 19 December 2021
Jayasri Burman is a name synonymous with several terms-deep-rooted tradition, folklore, vibrancy, feminism and force. A prominent figure in the Indian Contemporary Art scene, she has been bewitching audiences and art lovers with her dreamy visual presentations vis-à-vis her paintings and sculptors for several decades now. Most of her works have been individualistic that seem to take audiences to a world gently suspended between fable and fact with a lyrical eloquence. She possesses an innate mastery over conjuring through her brush, mythical stories somehow touching upon essences of reality that cut a chord deeply, entrenched on issues brought on through our unchecked living and improper habits. Yet the charm of her expressions lies in her unbridled optimism that is reflected through her stunning colors and wanton beauteous imagery.

The world has seen much strife and struggles in the past two years with the arrival of the pandemic. Nature and humanity have faced unprecedented setbacks. Deeply sensitive and a seeker of beauty and truth as ingrained in her through her early intimacy with scriptures, Jayasri has created through the contrasting medium of paintings and sculptures her poetic offering honoring the mighty Ganges which seem to be a universal thread binding humanity especially here in India.

As an artist and humanist moved by the extreme desecration and pollution of the sacred waters of Ganges, she has presented a vibrant ensemble of creations in her show, “River of Faith” that questions, arouses, sensitizes and soothes, calling the audience attention to the river as a life force that instills strength, hope and spirit of preservation albeit the upheavals that frequent it.

Her works take us to the history and evolution of how the river came into being. Viewers are invited to travel through the different forms and names assumed by the river Ganges depicted through beautiful goddesses and female nymph-like forms. Each form of the river is held with devotion by people in different parts of her circuitous route that meanders through our nation. Through the exquisite detailing, some colorful, some in black and white the artist seems to focus on forces and frailties of human existence with the cosmic cycle of birth and rebirth as our traditions make us brush with the river - in life, celebrations and on our final journey.

Her works are spirited and hopeful, reminding us that amidst the darkness, hope lingers on the horizon. Her works have been inspired by watching the river on her visit to Varanasi, almost ten years back and also by her recent visit to Kumartuli, Kolkata. While she was amidst the humongous images of the divine feminine energy of the massive idols her soul was consumed by the fire and passion that led to her creative expressions in the present show.

As the world awaits to rediscover normalcy and happiness leaving behind the sadness and shadows of the last two years, the River of Faith would be a beautiful tribute to the river and serve to gently remind us about restoring balance and tranquility in our lives and repose our faith in nature and its powers.