What a piece of music is to ears, a painting is to eyes.
Nothing can explain this more beautifully than the works of artist Seema Pandey, a resident of Mayur VIhar, Delhi. On display at Triveni Art Gallery, her works, in the series Semicolon, are both abstract and figurative and do not represent any particular genre. Yet they soothe the eyes, calm the mind and make the heart happy and at the same time, give hope to the viewers to rise above the dark rooms and move towards sunny open atmosphere.
Semicolon, quite an unusual name, you would think. However, she has an explanation for this: “When my husband was undergoing depression, I could have chosen to walk away but I chose to stay put and pause, just like a semicolon, and help him overcome depression,” she says.
“My doctor tells me that I have been suffering from depression for over 20 years, and frankly, I didn’t know about it, at all. I attributed my mood swings and anger to my office stress till some four months back when I started going downhill. Seema kept talking to me about visiting a doctor. She made me realize this is something that needs to be treated,” says her husband Vikas Sharma.
Sharma is now one month into medication and he says he feels that he is improving. “I now take initiative to speak to my friends from whom I had withdrawn, am accepting my faults, and trying to bridge the distances. I now feel more positive,” he adds, owing it all to his wife.
Some of the paintings on display at Treveni Kala Sangam
Puts in Pandey, “Through this exhibition, I want to tell people that they need to open up about depression. I want to tell people that depression is just like any other body illness that needs to be identified and cured. And believe me close ones are the only people who can help a depressed person swing back to life.”
It took her almost a year-and-a-half to create these paintings, and this was the time when Sharma’s depression was at its peak. It is not surprising then that in many of her works, Pandey has used a female as the central figure, perhaps representing herself in a quagmire of problems that arose out of her husband’s depression. In fact, her works have always been an extension of her personality, in the past too. Whatever is happening in her life has always amply reflected in her paintings.
“Whatever I produce is inspired by my experiences and surroundings. I have no particular philosophy. I do not care much for dogmas, disciplines, school of thoughts, fashion or style. To me art is an expression of life and each time I include an expression of life in painting, I produce art,” she adds.
“It is a small effort towards making a change in social and cultural mindset that treats mental illness as a taboo,” says Pandey. Part of the proceeds of the sale of these paintings would go towards spreading awareness on depression. She also plans to approach schools to generate awareness about mental health amongst students. “Even if we can help two persons through this exhibition, I would feel we have achieved something,” says Sharma.
Semicolon is on display at Triveni Kala Sangam, Mandi House, New Delhi till November 13, 2016.