Photo courtesy of Saskia Fernando Gallery
Twelve women artists are celebrating International Women’s Day this year with a group exhibition entitled With My Back to the World at the Saskia Fernando Gallery curated by Mariyam Begum and Ashini Nanayakkara featuring the work of Fabienne Francotte, Hansika Herath, Chathurika Jayani, Shaanea Mendis, Ashini Nanayakkara, Sabeen Omar, Anoli Perera, Sumi Perera, Saskia Pintelon, Anomaa Rajakaruna, Hema Shironi and Anoma Wijewardene.
The exhibition asks the viewer to observe, feel and respond to the subtleties in art making without seeking a cause or reason. It is an invitation to engage with process and the conversations that emerge across different disciplines whether it be embroidery, beadwork, woodblock printing, painting, sculpture, assemblage or photography.
Anomaa Rajakaruna’s photographs of Sri Lanka’s north and east provide a sombre visual narrative on issues of conflict, displacement and sexual harassment. Using documentary photographic techniques she approaches her subjects with sensitivity, helping to create awareness around social responsibility. Fabienne Francotte’s hand is evident in her clay sculptures, drawings and paintings of lips, which she impetuously stitches and reworks to reflect on sisterhood, loss and trauma. In the same vein, Hema Shironi experiments with paper and stitching, reworking her materials to the point of disintegration to meditate on concepts of home, migration and displacement. Anoma Wijewardene tears and cuts up her paintings and reconstructs them into vivid and layered works to communicate ideas of inclusivity, sustainability and harmony.
Hansika Herath engages with the process of woodcut printing to conflate representations of the female form with nature to meditate on humanity and the environment. Similarly, Shaanea Mendis contemplates the intricate biological patterns and textures present in nature through her pen, ink, and watercolour drawings. Inspired by the geometric elements and grids of Islamic architecture, Sabeen Omar uses embroidery and beading to transform objects from her childhood such as handkerchiefs and cardboard boxes, exploring the ephemerality of memories and the places we inhabit. Saskia Pintelon’s patchwork of collages, found photographs and appropriated artworks contemplate a society and its citizens that are constantly being remade by political, social or technological shifts in their environment. Likewise, Anoli Perera digitally superimposes watercolour paintings with drawings and photographs to explore the idea of fragmented memories and shared histories.
Through a combination of painting and embroidery, Chathurika Jayani dreams up fantastical urban landscapes of the future as she meditates on industrialization and rising cities. Inspired by perspective in urban architectural spaces, Sumi Perera uses hybrid printmaking techniques to explore the interplay of geometric forms, shapes and lines. Ashini Nanayakkara uses a combination of analog and digital photographic techniques to construct geometric compositions of urban architecture that disorient traditional perceptions of space and scale.
With My Back to the World will be open from March 3 to April 2 at Saskia Fernando Gallery.