Peace, void, hope — the colour white stands for many things, all depending on your philosophical bend and how you see this world. Three months ago, when curator of the exhibit Aishwarya Manivannan, art and design educator and Silambam practitioner, introduced this topic to her students for an exhibition that will take place this week, their reaction was apt — blank faces and baffled eyes.
How do you create something around white, nothingness and yet move people, igniting their minds? “When we were told about white, I was blind. Then, white meant nothing. But after working with the concept, I realised, white is also everything,” says Oviya, displaying her work at the exhibition.
Many of Aishwarya’s pupils introspected, and after days of struggle, they realised white was a lot of things. For some, it was childhood, for others, it meant healing; some saw it as infinity. And thus began the process.
Hundreds of hours of work later, the artists came up with their own interpretations, full of beauty and most importantly, heart. The exhibition, titled, White by Maisha Studio, will display artworks by 14 students, consisting of multidisciplinary pieces across various mediums.
With more than 50 artworks on display, the exhibition has something for everyone. To Maya, another artist, white means possibilities. She interprets the colour as play, connected to childhood and imagination. “It is about your memories as a child and who you are,” she says.
From pieces made from metal to thousands of pieces of paper stuck together to show how feelings arise in layers and a pure white work depicting death and rebirth, there are many meditative pieces for the visitors to connect with. “We have paintings, drawings, products and more. As most of the artworks are white in colour, it forces the audience to get into details and to leave with an understanding of what life beyond emptiness is,” says Aishwarya.
She had been thinking about white as a concept for a long time. With this exhibition, she wanted her students to delve into details, to understand emptiness and explore what remains when there is no colour. “We intend to look at white as emptiness, something that is plain. It’s too clean and pure. For me, white is the beginning of everything. It has limitless potential. It’s like a mirror. It can take on any meaning you give,” she says.