Channelising despair into art, strength through memory
Srinagar: For Rollie Mukherjee, 39, painting is a way to channelise anger and put powerful illustrations onto canvas. However, she says, her works on Kashmir are more than just images. “These are political realisations for me,” she says.
“My work on Kashmir is a minute contribution reflecting a drop from an ocean of pain and the emotions the Kashmir conflict brings with it,” she says.
She has come together with Conflictorium, Museum of Conflict, in Ahmedabad and the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons to organise the exhibition to “neutralise the manufactured narrative”.
Mukherjee, who is an alumnus of West Bengal’s Shantiniketan and MS University of Baroda, portrays the emotional stories of women in Kashmir who have suffered due to atrocities meted out to them since 1990.
Her works are on display at a solo exhibition in Zaldagar area of downtown till September 10. She hopes to make a mark among the local crowd, especially students and art lovers.
The exhibition, ‘To stories rumoured in branches’, was inaugurated on Monday at the Indo-Kashmir Complex.
It showcases 60 art pieces completed over the last few years using multiple media. The frames try to travel around various aspects of the Kashmir conflict, especially focusing on issues relating to disappearances, indigenous sentiments and the agony of women suffering in the conflict.
Mukherjee says the historical perspective and story about Kashmir was manipulated over the years “so that it doesn’t reach people living outside”.
“I tried to clear a mirage from a screen through my work,” she says.
The artist says her artwork on Kashmir was a process of realisation.
“I had to spend many years to unlearn whatever wrong I had believed about Kashmir earlier. It was confusing, manipulative and that is why I had to learn again,” she says.
According to her, the first art work about Kashmir was her first clear understanding about Kashmir.
“In 2007, when I actually displayed my painting about Kashmir, people started questioning me. However, I keep on painting and knowing Kashmir, its characters and the pain they go through,” Mukherjee says.
She remembers her first tryst with Kashmir when shawl wallahs travelled to her native place in Jabalpur.
“The memory of the shawl wallahs from Kashmir turned me into a lover of Kashmir, and I started asking about the place and its people,” she says. “It gives us a chance to do something good for those who have suffered.”
Mukherjee says her main motive is not to sell her paintings but to generate a spark among young and aspiring artists to take up political art seriously.
“This will channelize energies in them and help them create a strong memory and hope amid unrest and despair,” Mukherjee told Kashmir Reader.