The pyramids of Egypt, the ghats of Varanasi, the red buildings of Marrakech and arches reminiscent of Rome’s gladiatorial arena, the 50000-seat Colosseum, rest underneath pure golden sky. They stand atop a bed of ocean blue, reminiscent of the waters edging Philippines’ treasured asset of 7,000 islands, and merge to create a dreamlike landscape in artist Vinita Karim’s canvas A Wonderful World. Bursting with rainbow colours, owing to the artist’s Indian roots, it reminds one of Louis Armstrong’s epic 1968 song of the same name, created during the time of the Vietnam War.
Through her exhibition “Magical Musings” at Gallerie Ganesha, Karim, who was born in Myanmar and is based in Dhaka and Delhi, records her observations of her travels across the globe.
Her father was a diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service and Karim, 55, has lived and worked throughout Asia, the Middle East and Europe. She says, “Through these maze of cities, my underlying wish is to create a sacred space where I am happy and content. I have tried to create a home for myself wherever I have travelled, by carrying my colours and canvas with me. Whenever I move to a new unfamiliar place, like Libya, I am surrounded by people who love art.” Karim has studied at the Gerlesborg Art Institute in Stockholm and is armed with a masters in fine arts from the University of Philippines, Manila. She has exhibited at the India Art Fair, Sikka Art Fair in Dubai and the Dhaka Art Summit in Bangladesh in the recent past.
The embroidery on muslin in Garden of Eden I, is replete with Islamic architecture from a Turkish landscape. Among the floral designs in the frame, revolvers sprout with flowers. The work hints at her fear for the world and coming generations. She says, “The inspiration for the work came around the time when I heard about the brutal shootings carried by a gunman in the US. My children live in the US and I am addressing my fears of violence and gun laws through this work. The world is too violent. The message here is simple, ‘Please bury all your rifles’.”
Karim has painted the exterior of a large pickle jar, which she picked up from Chandni Chowk in Delhi, with bright colours that denote arches and boats in Forgotten Years I. After finding an old jar in an antique shop in Dhaka, Karim was surprised to find the year 1901 inscribed beneath it along with the name of city it was manufactured it. “The city was in England and the jar was a part of the trade between England and Chittagong back then, as jars full of oil used to come here,” she says. She has since picked up jars from different cities as her canvas. The exhibition is on at E-557, Greater Kailash-2, Delhi, till January 5