A childhood romance with paintings, a dream to be an artist, a natural delicate sensibility and human warmth, a compulsion to express, a desire to emulate the spirit of freedom of Dharam Pal; her father and Yash Pal her writer uncle, and her reaction to the resistance of parents to allow her to choose painting as a profession, brought Gogi Saroj Pal to the threshold of the painting profession.
Try to picture a girl, four feet eleven inches, all alone, wearing a skirt, canvas shoes and holding small attache, getting down from a bus arriving from a small town. She became one among the crowd at the bus terminus and vanished, dragging her attaché with her. It was in 1968. The city to which she came was Delhi. This girl willed... to adopt this metropolis and practice art as a free lance painter and live by it, perhaps the ,first Indian woman to so decide. She began to evolve her own creative visual imagery to express her convictions and concerns of "Being a Woman"...she wanted to be relevant as a contemporary and reflect her times to the future.
She refused to become aware of
the vulnerability of the profession and the cruelty in the game of survival
in the metropolis for a free-lance artist in those years, especially a
woman artist. She believed that "Indian Woman is a woman of real life,
who lives close to earth, treads life as it comes, keeps her concerns and
convictions within herself in an unequal relationship-society... survives
somehow and in the end succeed, so that the world continues.
The world of Gogi in her paintings revolves around her and the behavior pattern of the society. She creates her own actors for the performance in her paintings...sometimes they are real sensitive people carrying the weight of life and harmonizing the joys and sorrows of the world...sometimes she provides them additional visual symbolism and forms from the deposits of her creative experience, from rituals, from myths or from religion, to equip them to perform their roles more convincingly, in her paintings.
Her life carved her directions for her expression. Inspirations for expression emerged around and within her. Gogi had the command to synthesize these directions in her paintings with a sensibility of universal concern.
During her career, as a free-lance painter, she has painted series of paintings on the themes of Mother and Child, Prisoners, Haily Comet, Visit to a valley of flowers, Eternal Bird, Human Landscape, Naika, Kamdhenu, Dancing Horse, Kinnari, Paper Boats-Vision of Dreams...All these titles, which she had given to her creative visual expressions converge to Being a Woman' and the unequal relationships which exist in the Society. Gogi is an optimist and wants to succeed in the end to fly over the mountains, valleys, the rivers, the lotus pond...
At the time Gogi descended on the art scene, Western derived contemporary Indian Art had already reached its peak. An introspection had started to search and imbibe in the Indian contemporary art, inspirations from indigenous imagery, both textual and visual. In this changing scenario nobody noticed her and nobody listened to her point of view. She developed a patience for listening to others. Gogi had faith in her convictions and continued to tread following these.
Since 1965, Gogi has organized 24 Solo Exhibitions of her works of Art, participated in 23 International Exhibitions abroad and 42 Group Exhibitions in India. She was invited to participate in the 5th and 8th Triennale India in 1982 and 1993-94. On both the occasions she contributed her multimedia creativity, utilizing "Installation" as a medium of expression. Gogi was given the `Sanskriti' Award in 1980. She was awarded Jury's commendation in the International Biennial of Plastic Arts in Algiers in 1987, National Award in painting by Lalit Kala Akademi in 1990 and l2th Cleveland International Drawing Biennial award, UK in 1996.
To accomplish creativity in her paintings, Gogi thinks in colour and achieves Sthai Bhava.
Sometimes the prolific creative energy of Gogi engulfs, in addition to her expression in painting, other means of creative visual expression...Graphic Print Making, Ceramic Sculptures, Studio Pottery, Ceramics, Jewelry and Painting-in- Weaving. She goes on indulging in these additional means of creative expression till debarred.
Gogi worked in the Graphic Print Studios of Lalit Kala Akademi at Garhi in New Delhi between 1977 and 1981. On the merit of her creative expression through graphic prints, she was invited to participate in the Third World Print Biennial, London , Baghdad (1980), l4th-l5th Print Biennial Lubjiyana, Yugoslavia (1981-83), Bedford Print Biennial, U.K. (1982), 9th International Triennale of Original Coloured Graphic Prints, Switzerland (1982). International Print Biennial, Trino Italy (1984), Indian Graphic Print Exhibition in Finland, Germany and Yugoslavia (1986). Print Making in India _An exhibition compiled by Paul Lingren, which was shown in many cities of U.S.A. (1988)
In 1981-82. sometimes Gogi strayed to Ceramic Studio from her Garhi Painting Studio and started shaping pots with hand and carving human heads in clay. She exhibited these ceramic pots and human heads in the Solo Exhibition of her works at Jehangir Art Gallery, Bombay (1982) and later these heads were selected by the National Gallery of Modern Art for an exhibition of sculptures by Indian Women Sculptors (1987)
Earthen Pot, inspite of its fragility and delicacy has been able to preserve for us time in the history of our civilization which in its absence had been lost from us. The instinctive realization of it attracted her, during her visit to Paonta Sahib, to the terracotta pot. She decided to paint these pots in her own creative visual imagery and organized an exhibition at the Artist Studio Gallery, New Delhi in (1991)
For her multimedia Installations, Swayambram and Sihanvlokan, Gogi made use of creative weaving as part of these installations and set up a weaving workshop at Paonta Sahib (Himachal Pradesh).
Gogi Saroj Pal chose a lonely trail, to express her own creative concerns relevant to her times, imbibing her local, regional and universal consciousness in her own creative visual imagery.
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