Artist Seema Kohli’s recent work ‘Heartbeat of Universe’ is an ode to pulsating darkness giving birth to the glitter of sand, sky or water, to our shrouded thoughts, she says. Created using acrylics and inks on canvas with 24-carat gold and silver leaf, the artwork was displayed at the recently concluded Bihar Museum Biennale.
She explains, “The overarching theme of this painting is a commentary on the Karmic Cycle and Vasudhevya Kutumbakam. We are all like the branches, leaves, and roots of one Universal Consciousness which surpasses all biases. We are all unique, different, and at the same time existing because of each other. Our interdependence is also unique. I put forward a different version of the universal understanding of the Karmic cycle. The idea that the end of the Karmic cycle will put an end to all the suffering is not the central point. But, by going through this life cycle, living life to its fullest with conviction will help us achieve eternity and salvation.”
Kohli, who follows the concept of the ‘golden womb’ in her art, believes that humans or any other form of beings have all emerged from the female energy, the same element that guides all of us. Before being invited to the Bihar Biennale, Kohli presented an exhibition ‘Vut from the Same Cloth’ at Delhi’s Bikaner House where she brought out embroidered artworks, paintings, drawings and performances – based on the concept of the feminine, the golden womb, on which she had been working for 6.5-7 years.
Kohli’s work stands out not only because she presents nature and the woman as one creator but also because it strikes the viewer at once – the use of bright colours and patterns, the feminine element, and the amalgamation of nature and beings. She says that the idea behind using bright colours is the fact that life is full of inspiration and celebrations. “Everywhere I look I see colour in spite of the fact that there are some low moments in life. But I feel that celebrations take them over and create more compassion and joy in our lives.”
Recipient of the Lalit Kala Academi Lifetime Achievement Award for Women in 2008, Kohli agrees that she draws a lot of inspiration from mythology and not only the mythology of a certain sect but different mythologies from different spaces and faiths. In this show (Cut from the Same Cloth), it is not mythology that was instrumental, it was poets and the teachings of sufi and bhakti saints which are in the knowledge of people.”
Seema’s solo exhibitions have been shown in Brussels, Melbourne, London, New York, Dubai, Singapore, Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. She is currently working on her upcoming solo show and says she will soon go back to her ‘womb’ that is, her studio to delve into her art.