A collective of western Sydney mums have come together to form an artistic group in the hope of inspiring their children to get creative and learn about their cultural roots.
The Women’s Creative Group initially came together to learn the traditional Indian and Nepalese art form, Madhubani. Connecting through the Westmead Public School, where all their children currently or previously studied, they bonded over a shared passion for art, leading them to explore other traditional Indian art forms.
“India has a rich tradition of folk arts, the custodians of which are the many tribes. Madhubani (Madhu — honey, Ban — forest) is a beautiful folk art from northern India. It was developed 2500 years ago in a region called Mithila, which is located in modern day India and Nepal,” said Smitha Shankavaram, one of the artists in the group.
“Traditionally, this form of painting was done with fingers, twigs, brushes, nib-pens, and matchsticks, using natural dyes and pigments. It is characterised by eye-catching geometrical patterns.”
During the Singular/Plural exhibition during the New Beginnings Festival for Refugee Week, the Women’s Creative Group will display a Madhubani painting depicting the Tree of Life — a figure that represents the interconnectedness of all life on our planet.
“It is a powerful symbol of hope, longevity and fertility. It represents that part of ourselves that stays pure despite difficult situations, as long as we are rooted spiritually. It symbolises regeneration, resurrection and sacred knowledge,” Ms Shankavaram said.
“The fine lines, dots and patterns in this work are characteristic of the Madhubani art form. The colour scheme of the painting was developed in response to the curatorial concept of Singular/Plural. While the central form of the tree and its leaves have been painted in unified shades of brown, the plurality of life forms found in its branches are presented in a variety of warm colours.”
The Women’s Creative Group believe that through their artwork, they can inspire their children to cultivate their creative talent, and act as a bridge back to their cultural roots.
They use art projects as a means of showcasing the vibrancy of Indian traditional art forms. Through their participation in mural projects across Sydney, such as the Bondi Beach Graffiti Wall, Welcome Walls in Parramatta and the Mural for Peace in Mosman, they hope to demonstrate the fact that Australians are truly multicultural in spirit. At the same time, they endeavour to preserve their culture and traditions for their children, so that they are able to appreciate the value and true meaning of art.
The Women’s Creative Group comprises Latha Seeniraj, Smitha Shankavaram, Shubhangi Kapare Neelima Jagtap, Lokeswari Devi and Anuradha Jayaseelan.
The Singular/Plural exhibition will open on Wednesday 21 June and run until 2 July. Entry is free. Click here for details.