Published: 02nd September 2020
This Kerala artist has recreated the art gallery experience through a virtual exhibition
Researcher and artist Dr Reshma Thomas is exhibiting her latest work through a virtual and interactive exhibition titled' 'Of Roots and Connections' that celebrates going back to nature
It probably shouldn't shock us that surviving a pandemic entails losing our sanity and finding our way back to it by being forced to reconnect with ourselves. Dr Reshma Thomas believes that it's the most natural instinct. In fact, one month into the lockdown, she admits that, as an extrovert, it was an inner battle to follow the strict social distancing instructions. Perhaps it was all for the best because the researcher, who holds a doctorate in 'Comparative Studies on Transgender Life and Healthcare' from the University of Madras, fought her own inner demons to create some of her best artwork yet. And better yet, you can view Of Roots and Connections safely from your own home through Kunstmatrix, a platform that holds virtual reality exhibitions.
"This show started with the lockdown," begins Reshma. "When we're forced to be in one space without many options, we choose more mindfully. For a lot of us, it's the period where we think about going back to our roots and connections. For a lot of young people standing at the precipice of adulthood, you're taken back to a time we've forgotten where we used to play with handmade toys and manjadikkuru (lucky red seeds). On a personal level, I didn't have many options to experiment with. So I decided to look back at my own experiences with this project."
For many, looking back meant a literal opportunity to explore talents and memories that were abandoned in childhood. But for Reshma, it was an epiphany she wanted to share with the world. Without the luxury of ordering her preferred materials to work with, Reshma recollects figuring out ways to create her own dyes and mixing it with whatever paint she had remaining at home.
PAINT IN: The exhibition involved 12 paintings
The exhibition, which includes a total of 12 paintings that feature themes like nature, is being held from August 27 to September 25. Reshma wanted the message to reach people through the power of technology so it reminds them of a simpler time. As opposed to posting 20 or 30 pieces of her work and reading their comments later, she wanted to recreate the real exhibition experience where the artist and audience can interact and learn from each other.
Reshma explains, “I joke that it was a way of returning to how things were done in ancient times. I worked with what I had and what I didn’t have, I made it myself. And I wanted people to respond to that part of our nature. I wanted to recreate a real art exhibition because even receiving those positive or negative comments helps me grow along with my art. It was important for me to keep it that way.”
Although she was initially concerned about whether the platform would be easy for all art enthusiasts to use, the easy interface was quick to comfort Reshma. The platform allows the user to walk around the simulated gallery. You can change the angles to view the work properly. The latest update even offers art curators the option to see how a painting would look in their bedroom or living room to see if it is the one they would like to purchase.