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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Between the Fine Lines

Marie Dias Arora’s evocative patterns complete the circle — from life to death.

Written by Vandana Kalra |
Updated: December 8, 2015 4:55:12 am
Marie Dias Arora, Roots, art exhibition, painting exhibition, root painting exhibition, talk Marie Dias Arora (Express Photo by Amit Mehra)

Roots here do not sprout from the centre. Instead, they form a maze of thin lines that present a complete picture. One that reflects the forest greens of Kashmir that prompted Marie Dias Arora to dip her fine-tipped brush into ink almost four years ago. “I felt compelled to paint the trees in the Valley,” says Arora, looking at the 12×12 inch square frame titled Roots.

It is one of the 36 works that comprise the exhibition “Inner Terrains” at Alliance Française de Delhi. Arora’s solo after more than 40 years, it features works from 2012 till now. “I wanted to have a complete body of work before planning an exhibition,” says the Delhi-based artist who pursued painting at the JJ School of Art, followed by Delhi College of Art, where she was introduced to printmaking by Somnath Hore. “He was a wonderful master and gentle person,” says Arora. Soon after, a scholarship from the French government took her to Paris, where she trained under master printmakers William Hayter and Krishna Reddy at Atelier Seventeen. Terming the experience as “wonderful”, Arora continues to be in touch with Reddy.
After a spate of exhibitions in France, she returned to Delhi, settling for a career as an art teacher at Modern School, Vasant Vihar. With three children in their growing years, her practice took a backseat but Arora continued to experiment with art forms through her students with whom she adopted a radical approach. “I never did a stroke for them. I wanted them to paint directly on paper, unleashing their creativity and imagination rather than copying something,” says Arora, 69, adding that she also wrote a chapter on creativity through art education for National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).

The quest for breaking rules also reflects in her own works, where she uses fine strokes to depict a narrative in abstract. She finds printmaking labourious due to health concerns, but the paper works project her love for the medium. “They have that effect of prints… Change in medium is always wonderful to bring out creativity,” says Arora, moving from one work to another. If Vision has minute lines moving in and out of circles, in Embryo and Birth Arora recall pregnancies of her two daughters. The Memory series is also autobiographical. In one, she recounts a tragic memory that she shared with her parents; the other is happier, Arora as a young girl running in the hills of Kodaikanal to take a dip into water. In the midst of the dense works is an untitled, with an empty blot at its centre — perhaps left for the viewers to fill with their imagination.

The exhibition at Galerie Romain Rolland, Alliance Française de Delhi, 72, Lodi Estate, is on till December 9.

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