FROM BEIJING, WITH LOVE
Rubina A Khan talks to Janavi Mahimtura Folmsbee, whose ‘Reflect to Refract’ series, inspired by her fascination for life forms under water, opened last year at the Artist Village Gallery in Beijing, China. The young artist’s work is realistic, but not a photo representation of an image, nor does it border on visual abstraction. It’s conceptual realism, as she describes it. Her contemporary visuals address diverse social and human behaviour, with a satirical sense of humour lending an edge to her artistic brush strokes. Your works are best described as oils on canvas with contemporary reflections. Do you agree with that description? Each painting I make is an observation of some social issue or societal behavior. I paint people in various situations under water and use distorted imagery to create reflections. The works are meant to be interactive, most of the issues are global and seem to be understood by different people and cultures. How did the show in Beijing come about? Sally Liu at the Artist Village Gallery in Beijing and her husband,Yan Yu, a contemporary Chinese artist, whose works are about use of cigarettes in Chinese culture, seemed interested in my work and we have been in touch since last year. Since my work is not conventionally Indian, they thought it would be a good idea to show in Beijing at their gallery. The art scene in Beijing is very encouraging. It is definitely advancing exponentially. The number of galleries coming up in China has increased recently and the Beijing art scene has been more welcoming to art from across the world and not just Chinese artists. Whose works are you influenced by? I am most influenced by Jacques-Louis David, a French Revolutionary artist. He’s brilliant in his technique and I feel he was ahead of his time. He painted pertaining to the history of French politics, indirectly though, and was eventually sent to prison for it. He created works about French society and issues that people were facing at the time. It wasn’t my intention to employ his methods but somehow it has crept up in my work. Some of my favourites are ‘Belisarius’, ‘The Death of Marat’, and ‘Oath of the Horatii’.
The Fingers Are Coming Down, oil on linen canvas, 91.44cm x 182.88cm, 2012, Janavi Mahimtura Folmsbee
Janavi Mahimtura Folmsbee