Artist Dipali Bhattacharya’s solo exhibition in Hyderabad blends personal and political narratives through captivating artwork

In Parallel Lives, the artist uses a mix of media, starting with powder paint, then layering with acrylics for transparency, and finishing with oils.
Artwork by Dipali Bhattacharya
Artwork by Dipali Bhattacharya

Dipali Bhattacharya, a figurative painter and social activist from Kolkata, brings her first solo show to Hyderabad. Titled Parallel Lives, the exhibition is a poignant exploration of feminine strength, societal struggles, and the artist’s deep connection to her roots in Kolkata.

“A part of Kolkata is very much present in my paintings,” Dipali states, highlighting her deep connection to her hometown. This connection is vividly portrayed in her recent works, which draw inspiration from Sholo Bighe, a small area outside Kolkata. Her series includes paintings, sculptural works, and scrolls.

In Parallel Lives, the artist uses a mix of media, starting with powder paint, then layering with acrylics for transparency, and finishing with oils. Her colour palette, traditionally dominated by shades of red and maroon, has shifted to greens inspired by the Sunderbans. “My inspiration for colours in paintings comes from the things I observe in my surroundings,” she explains.

Dipali’s work is characterised by its portrayal of women, capturing their emotions and daily lives. “ Women are uprooted and replanted in a new situation,” she says, reflecting on the universal experiences of women. This theme is evident in her favourite painting from the series, Onlookers, which depicts women seated, capturing the essence of Kolkata with shades of brown, red, and maroon. Her paintings, like Dawn in Sholo Bighe and Dusk in Sholo Bighe, hold special significance as they reflect her lived experiences in Sholo Bighe. “The paintings displayed in the exhibition would be of women, men, emotions, and daily objects or shadows that speak to me,” she notes, offering viewers a glimpse into the intimate and political narratives she weaves.

In addition to paintings, Dipali’s wooden sculptures of women extend her artistic vision into three dimensions. “When I think of something in two dimensions I also visualise it in three dimensions; my sculptures are similar to my characters in paintings,” she explains, inviting viewers to experience the depth and complexity of her artistic expression.

Curated by Anirudh Chari, an independent curator and art critic, the exhibition also features paintings that encapsulate broader themes of colonialism, feminism, and gender politics. Words like hope, flight, and desire scattered across the scrolls express complex political and ideological ideas, making Dipali’s work accessible and deeply resonant.

Parallel Lives is not just an exhibition; it is an invitation to engage with the profound stories and struggles of women through the eyes of an artist who paints with passion and purpose. Dipali’s work speaks on multiple levels, offering a rich tapestry of personal and political narratives that are both visually striking and emotionally compelling.

Free entry. July 5, 6.30 pm.

At Kalakriti Art Gallery, Banjara Hills

Written by Sanjana Pulugurtha

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