By Manish Pushkale
ARTWORK: Connecting, 2021-21
ARTIST: Jayashree Chakravarty
MEDIUM: Acrylic, paper, shell flakes, synthetic adhesive, resin, cotton, tissue on canvas
WHERE CAN IT BE VIEWED: Gallery Akar Prakar
At a time when most contemporary artists are either focussing on socio-political issues or developing a visual vocabulary based on their personal experiences, artist Jayashree Chakravarty works with diverse materials, including found objects, to bring to light the ecosystem and the ecological challenges that confront us. I would describe her works as conveying the aesthetics of concerns derived from lost stories and extinct flora and fauna in her immediate space.
Born in 1956 in Khowai, Tripura, the graduate in art from Visva Bharati, Santiniketan, lives in Salt Lake, a prime locality in Kolkata, where there was once a lake. Her works revolve around the memory of that lake, which is now lost to urban development. With this loss, the flora, fauna and life which orchestrated around its periphery have also disappeared. Jayashree is the painter of these lost entities and has imagined an original visual aesthetic to express them.
In this sombre work in muted shades that makes use of multiple materials, she recalls the time when she first moved to Salt Lake in the early 1980s. While the lake was gone, the sand and tall grass still existed, but soon, that, too, disappeared. She says, “The trees were cut because a concrete jungle had to be built. The surrounding open space has also gone with the coming up of New Town next to Salt Lake. To me, that huge water body was very necessary for Kolkata’s ecosystem… However, these changes are not specific to Kolkata, we are seeing this across the world where urban spaces are replacing green lands and water bodies.” She notes that the ecological impact is evident even when one looks at a particular area like Salt Lake.