Often considered the ‘Frida Kahlo’ of India, Amrita Sher-Gil gives us the neurotic satiation that we need, to remind ourselves of the brilliance of our minds. Born to Sikh and Hungarian-Jewish parents, Amrita is considered the most important woman painter in Indian history. She grew up in Budapest and Shimla, performing piano concerts and acting in plays. She then sailed with her mother to Florence and Paris, subjecting herself to the authority of European artists. Her time in Europe left her with an intense desire to return to India. ‘India belongs only to me’, she said. It was here, that her critical works of art rose to fame. Her lustful relationships with both men and women became the subject of her paintings, now hanging at National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi. Her obsession with the tradition of Indian art, the culture of women and the rhythms of village lives became the standard for many artists to follow. She died aged 28.
American feminist artist, Judy Chicago forces us all to lead thinking lives. She coined the term ‘feminist art’ in the 1970s to define her work exploring the role of women in culture and history. She began the first Feminist Arts Program in Fresno State College and strongly believed that women who were ignorant of women’s history would continue to struggle. Her work including the famous ‘The Dinner Party‘ & ‘The Birth Project‘ commemorate women activists, martyrs, goddesses and women as mothers. Her emphasis on women and their many roles heralded the ‘Feminist Art Movement’ in the 70s.
No one has more sensitively told the stories of drug-addicts, dancers, lovers and activists. Her elements trilogy films threatened to unearth the farcical progress of social reform in India. In Water, she examines Gandhi’s India and the struggle of a child-widow unwittingly made to endure the rules of the Holy Hindu Scriptures. Despite death threats and burnt sets, Mehta produced and delivered the film to critical acclaim. Though one might argue that her singular, romanticized view of post-Colonial India does little to salvage it of its years of disarray, her storytelling subject has never been comforting en-masse.
“You’ve got to invest in the world, you’ve got to read, you’ve got to go to art galleries, you’ve got to find out the names of plants. You’ve got to start to love the world and know about the whole genius of the human race. We’re amazing people.”
Credited with pioneering the punk-style movement, Westwood is the hard-hitting, bright-haired anti-system woman we all need to be at times. “I was messianic about punk, seeing if one could put a spoke in the wheel in some way.”
Rei never studied fashion. And still, she is the most influential fashion designer in Japan and the world. She entered the fashion industry by taking a job at a textile company. Within a few short years, she established Commes Des Garçons, her label. By the time she debuted in Paris, she had begun the Japanese Fashion Revolution. Her anti-fashion style, dark colours, and arresting personality would begin the movement of intellectual style that would have the world in her thralls.
Dayanita Singh began her career as a photographer at a Zakir Hussain concert. He noticed her being roughly handled by his security personnel and asked for her to be allowed to do as she pleases. By following and photographing him on tour for six years, she created her first photo album ‘Zakir Hussain’. Influenced by Italo Calvino and Gustav Mahler, she advises to think and feel outside of photography. Then we will have something to bring to our pictures.
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (Lady Gaga):
To think of Lady Gaga’s experimentation with style, music, form and personality as simply incidental to the function of her industry, is an enormous discredit. Lady Gaga has given us songs on sex, religion, politics, sexuality and individualism. Movements have sought her words to charge the bass with the beat of our hearts. She is the Monster Mother of the fashion, music, and movement industry. And we are her little monsters.
‘I don’t claim that it’s easy. I do not have the answers. I am by nature not a political person and these are the darkest political times I have ever known. My business, such as it is, concerns the intimate lives of people. The people who ask me about the “failure of multiculturalism” mean to suggest that not only has a political ideology failed but that human beings themselves have changed and are now fundamentally incapable of living peacefully together despite their many differences.’
The accidental champion of multicultural homogeneity forces upon us, thoughts, nostalgic roots and ideas of change.
“I paint flowers so they will not die”
Frida was the tempestuous artist that rose to recognition for her beauty, her art, her questions, her affairs and her disregard for society. Her naiveté and intense fascination dominated her ‘surrealism’ art that she was perhaps entirely unaware of. Her eccentricity and posthumous recognition reflect on her aberrant portrayal of self, tragedy, and actualization.