Women and jeweller have been complementing each other since the beginning of time. Of course men have also been wearing jewellery down the ages. But it’s not the same thing. And then you have this WOW (Wednesday on Walls) event at the City Season’s Al Majlis Café by two accomplished artists, Sushmita Gupta and Shimmy Radhakrishnan, who give you a fascinating insight into women and jewellery through their artworks and creations.
The month-long exhibition that opened on January 3 and will run throughout the month, takes you into Shimmy’s world of exotic and folksy jewellery. It also celebrates the allure and mystique of women themselves. The ‘Ladies of Sushmita’, 24 paintings of lovely ladies, tell enchanting stories of women of different shades and colour, stroke by stroke, frame by frame.
Sushmita’s canvases have always been dominated by women; women of power and grace.
“I have always been featuring women as the focal point of all my canvases, an integral part of all my compositions” says Sushmita as she talks about her artworks, with her breezy effervescence and warm, sunny smiles.
It is intriguing how the artist can make them look so much alike and yet so very different. The striking feature of all her women are their large, languid eyes, filled with the mysteries of the past, yet brimming with hope and promise of the future.
“I always portray my ladies as strong and independent individuals. Either they will have this gentle and feminine look or they have this very bold and resilient look. At other times they could be anything else as well — coquettish, timid, daunting, or just plain beautiful and exotic”, says Sushmita.
But why only ladies? Without the least bit of pause, Sushmita says: “I’ve been encouraged by the responses of women to explore and delve deeper inside their feminine mystique as well as into their strength and power”.
“I love all men. They are fantastic. But women are different. They embody continuity and change in an environment of stability, harmony and beauty”.
The other artist Shimmy Radhakrishnan, designs chunky, which really looks very attractive into jewellery design since the past five years or so, Shimmy says: “I have always loved wearing jewellery and it always makes me feel good when I wear a beautiful piece of jewellery. People have appreciated the way I combine things and that has given me the confidence to go ahead and try it myself”.
Expressing her views on whether and to what extent Omani jewellery inspires her, Shimmy says: “I love Omani accessories for their chunkiness and I am sure they would have influenced me in my designs, but I do not design something just based on the market needs as I don’t believe in making something which does not make me feel good about it.
I believe I have a mix of everything and love everything which looks beautiful. Chunky and antique designs or pieces are my personal favourites…
Is this your first exhibition in Muscat. Or have you exhibited your creations elsewhere in Oman. What about back home in India? Any exhibitions there?
“I have exhibited in Muscat before and in India, I have had only one exhibition so far, but am planning to have more in the coming years.
While painting is two dimensional, jewellery is three-dimensional, somewhat like sculpture. So while a sculpture could be made up of one or two pieces, jewellery is almost always made up of many, sometimes very small pieces, that have to be put together very delicately and intricately, to then become a cohesive and beautiful piece of artwork.
With this sort of a scenario and challenge how does Shimmy move ahead and create something stunning and striking???
“Jewellery design is an exciting process. There are many ways in which you could put things together and two different people will do it very differently that is where a handmade jewellery becomes unique.
How long does it take Shimmy to make a medium-sized beaded necklace with a pendant from the concept to the stage of the finished product?
“I do not have a standard time for making a necklace as it varies most of the time. There are typical designs which I can finish off in less than an hour and there are designs where I would want to do something different for which I may take days to complete. I mix and match things, string them multiple times till I feel satisfied about the look of the product and that could be a very lengthy process. I am not a very organised and process oriented person so hardly draw and replicate a design but rather visualise it then go ahead with the design and a lot of times I keep on changing the colours, beads, textures till I get the look that I feel good about.”