Resilience and spirit of women


The paintings are executed using different mediums like watercolor on paper, acrylic on canvas, charcoal on paper…writes Siddhi Jain.

In what merges together her passion for art and travel, portraits of various smiling Indian women by Delhi-based artist and art curator Priyanka Banerjee — created over ten years — brings out the resilience and spirit of women of the country.

Hailing from the beautiful city of Bokaro in Jharkhand, and having quit a corporate career to pursue her long-held dream to create art, Banerjee says she created these smiling portraits as a departure from the silent struggle that often characterises women’s lives.

“Women are the epitome of strength. Their smiling faces de-stress the viewers. Although the rural women enjoy less amenities compared to their urban counterparts, they know the art of staying happy with their limited resources available. Hence, the ‘smiling women’ form an important subject of my art,” Banerjee told.
The paintings are executed using different mediums like watercolor on paper, acrylic on canvas, charcoal on paper.

“These portraits have been created over a span of ten years. Though I had no plan to create such a series, I was fortunate to capture their smiles as an intrepid traveller. I captured their smiles through my lens and have eventually transformed them into my artworks,” she adds.

As an avid traveller, Banerjee has also found inspiration in the hills and biodiversity of Nainital, Mukteshwar, and Ranikhet where everything from tall and sturdy coniferous trees like pines, oaks, cedar, deodars; the ancient and beautiful Mukteshwar temple situated atop amidst the scenic splendor; the occasional giggles of the children echoing in the woods; the serpentine roads of the hills; the majestic royal Bengal tiger basking in glory of its natural habitat in the Jim Corbett; the spotted deer and the Old British style bungalows – have become her muse.

“Women have made their presence felt in almost all spheres of life and the Indian culture attaches great importance to them. However, generally women all over the world (including India) speak the same language of ‘silence’ as they carry on with lives which are very often full of struggle. Hence, the portraits of smiling women symbolise positivity in times of despair. ‘A ‘smile’ is synonymous with a happy and de-stressful life. As I make portraits of smiling women, I have tried to bring out the beauty in them,” she concludes.

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