The jugalbandi in Indian classical music is a duet performance by two musicians of equal standing, vocalist or instrumentalist, both contributing equally to the dimensions of the performance. Poetic license will allow me to extend the concept in talking about the character of ‘Theen Tamasha: Theen Taal’ and the three artists who make it what it is. Here, the concept offers a framework with which to understand the layers of engagement the artists share with each other and with their audience, allowing each of them to present an individual voice while being part of a collaborative ethos. The collective they have formed provides a mooring for serious discourse, and also creates the space for improvisation and learning, building a synergy that generates meaningful and enjoyable exchange. In bringing the work of Malavika Rajnarayan, Kim Kyoungae and Sonatina Mendes together, my role has been that of a participant in that synergy.
The traditional pictorial surface of the canvas or paper has not lost its primacy even in the face of the more pluralistic arts that depend on multimedia, mainly because of the medium’s immense capacities to communicate, tell stories and engage. Here we have three characteristic styles of painting growing out of, and related to different cultural and academic backgrounds. Chance elements and imagery in each ones style that seem familiar, or recognizable, might have their origin in sources and experiences far removed from what our assumptions might be, that is the quality of contemporary art today. So, my intention is to foreground the essentially experiential quality of each of their work rather than build onto their visual languages a structure of connections based on established art historical categories or lineages. This show is meant to describe more fully the palpable resonance their work shares, as yet seen only on the virtual space of their shared blog.
The fact that they are women, and there is a distinct realization of femininity in their respective work is a relevant aspect of the show, but not overriding their voices as creative artists invested in producing a significant contemporary identity through their painting. The exhibition showcases what can be called ‘lifescapes’, each artists work reflecting to a different degree experiences of life’s banalities and mysteries, with memory and history to bind it together.