Touching a raw nerve


She lives life on her own terms and boldly wears a breezy attitude on her colourful sleeve. “I’m a divorcee and a single mother,” she candidly declares, shoving aside all inhibitions.
A name to reckon with on the contemporary art landscape, Kolkata-based painter Eleena Banik is a new-age woman of substance with a cerebral mind to boot. Without caring two hoots about conventionality, which she thinks is not at all morality, Eleena uses her craft as a weapon of protest. “Art is my medium of expression. So why shy away from exploiting the avenue as an instrument to convey my opinion on certain issues,” she voices her views. Currently showcasing her exhibition at Mumbai’s Jehangir Art Gallery, Eleena’s brush strokes speak louder than empty words.
Captioned The Challenge of Single Motherhood, the theme is topical and reflects the times we live in. Being a single mother of a 10-month old girl-child, Eleena could herself relate to the title of her exposition from the deepest core. A liberal at heart, conventional wedlock is constraining, she feels. “I’m not averse to the institution of marriage but am not what you say a coy, homely bride with a subdued voice and suppressed desires. For I can’t toe in the line of a silent surrender. I’ve to be creatively independent with no fetters on my feet as I must travel extensively for the sake of work and manage my own finances. Therefore you see, a lot of mutual, impartial understanding was required between me and my life-partner to make this marriage click and tick,” she rues.
With her array of 50 paintings, dipped in a palette of dark, vivid chromes, already making an impression on the minds of discerning art-gazers at the venue, this articulate artiste admits to paint the grey-areas of life only to bring them to public notice. “You may doubt whether I deliberately touch upon a raw nerve for attention, but the fact is, these incidents are often swept under the carpet-of-concealment for good,” she argues.
While talks are on with a new art gallery opening in Delhi, Eleena plans to carry her artworks further from the capital to other parts of India in addition to conducting interactive art-camps and workshops with children.

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