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Woodruff Arts Center Showcases Indian Art

September 2004
Woodruff Arts Center Showcases Indian Art

The Woodruff Arts Center's "Celebrate Diversity Through the Arts" presented "Faces of India", a collection of over 25 paintings by artist Malika Garrett. The exhibit at Center Space Gallery in the Memorial Arts Building from Aug 8 to Aug 15, was a fitting celebration of India's Independence Day.

David Manuel, project and community relations director for Woodruff's "Celebrate Diversity Through the Arts", strives to bring to light "cultural offerings that represent our diverse city." Speaking to Khabar about his selection of Malika's work, he said, "After seeing Malika's art, I wanted to provide a platform for her to show her works to a larger population."

The opening reception on August 6 celebrated exotic colors and all things Indian. The vivacious artist's yellow sari was in perfect sync with the exuberant Rajasthani hues of her artwork. The exhibition hall brimmed with high-profile invitees like Narsi Narasimhan, founder of the Indian Professionals Network (IPN) and Kenneth Cutshaw, Honorary Consul of India. Talking to Khabar about her journey to Woodruff Arts Center Malika said, "I am excited and proud. There is an immense sense of relief and accomplishment. A lot of hard work and persistence has finally paid off."

Malika has honed her creative presentation skills through her extensive work experience with leading multinationals such as Kodak and Coca-Cola. From the ambience to the giveaways, Malika orchestrated the program for the evening with the help of family and friends. She fashioned a subtly ethnic d�cor in the exhibition hall. Saris draped over columns served as accents without taking away from her artwork. A Rajasthani folk dance performance by danseur Asha brought to life the tribal traditions depicted by the artist. Aesthetically presented Indian savories added to the flavor of the soiree. As a token of her appreciation, Malika offered paintings and prints of her work to all the sponsors for the show. Images of Malika's artwork on a CD were made available for the guests.

Born in Kolkata, Malika enrolled at Wesleyan College in Macon in 1985 earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in visual Arts. During her years in the corporate world, she continued to paint by night! Talking about her inspirations Malika said, "I dedicate these paintings to the people I've painted. I find beauty in their simplicity, courage and their ability to survive against all odds." During her travels to India, Malika captures images of quotidian life on camera. She wields a palette knife and her memories morph into larger-than-life paintings showcasing the country and its people.

When asked to comment on Malika's art David Manuel responded, "I find fascinating how Malika uses the palette knife to build up her foundation and character structure." One is propelled to interface with the natives in Malika's paintings as if there are real entities, not frozen art forms. You can almost hear the whisperings of the women hidden behind by their dupattas in Gossip 2. The expressive face of a young woman carrying a mashak beckons you to share her burden in Parvati. The artist explained the significance of her paintings to the guests, most of whom have never reached Indian shores. Sabiha Mujtaba, a woodworker of repute, noticed a newer style in Malika's recent works like Saheeb & Bibi.

- Reetika Nijhawan

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