Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024691, Sun, 13 Oct 2013 18:03:43 -0400

Poet Vladimir Nabokov ...


Moulding the butterfly effect
By Ayesha Tabassum | Oct 11, 2013, 09.13 PM IST

Poet Vladimir Nabokov writes in his poem, On Discovering a Butterfly: "Dark pictures, thrones, the stones that pilgrims kiss, poems that take a thousand years to die but ape the immortality of this red label on a little butterfly."

Nabokov's verse will take on a tangible form through the show Metamorphose by artist Sharwari Tilloo. Ten artworks that depict parallels between a human and a butterfly's behavioural pattern will come alive this weekend.

Tilloo is a trained ceramic artist. But she had to take a hiatus from art for seven years after her hand was injured during a ceramic training session at the SIA College of Arts in Singapore. In 2009 she discovered papier-mache and found it similar to clay that's used in ceramics and has been working with it since then.

In Metamorphose she is exploring two thoughts — she wants to represent the beauty of papier-mache and wants to depict her journey as an artist. "I wanted to depict my seven-year break and the comeback to the art circuit with a new medium. But in the last three years, the idea has evolved into more than just a personal journey," she says.

Vividly colourful, dynamic and abstract patterns of butterflies in different sizes represent the human nature that is a corollary of the butterfly's behavior. "When I started my research, I discovered many similarities between butterflies and humans. As an artist, I believe art is not just about aesthetics, it also needs to have a strong narrative and that's one of the reasons I developed Metamorphose with the human-butterfly correlation in mind." Though her work has been predominantly inspired by Nabokov's poem that articulates the butterfly's behavioural pattern, two of the pieces are metaphors of violence against women.

One of the installations —250 steel butterflies beautifully etched in papier-mache — is a tribute to the 24,923 rape survivors whose cases were recorded in the National Crime Records Bureau in 2012. "One of the art critics asked me, 'These butterflies are beautiful but rape victims are 'broken'. How does this represent them?' I said 'broken' is what society has made the rape survivor. She went through a horrific experience, but has been able to stand up and get back to life and the butterflies represent that."

Sandy Pallot Klein

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