While I started this blog to document my crafty creations (and I still will), I feel it’s a good space to make a record of all the people and things that inspire me. So, without further ado, here is a little post about one of my favorite artists, Amrita Sher-Gil.
I discovered* Amrita Sher-Gil when I decided to Google my name (everyone does this… right?), and after a bit of web surfing, stumbled upon her Wikipedia page. Often called ‘India’s Frida Kahlo’, Sher-Gil was an artist who blended her European art training with her Indian surroundings her to create a honest reflection of herself and the lives of the people around her.
2. Young Girls – 1932 3. Two Women – 1935
Outside of her art, my favourite thing about Sher-Gil is her supposed ‘fuck it’ attitude. She was reportedly kicked out of school for declaring herself an atheist as a child. She moved to Paris when she was 16 to learn how to paint. She unashamedly explored her sexuality (she reportedly had multiple lovers of both genders – more power to her). She knew her destiny as an artist lay in India, so off she went back to India. She died unexpectedly at 28, but it seems for the time that she was alive she lived with her own unique radiance.
4. Self Portrait – 1930 5. Photo and Untitled Self-Portrait – 1931
While I am not saying everyone who is Indian has a strict upbringing, having Punjabi heritage myself, I know how conservative a culture it can be, especially for women. This added with the era (1920s onwards), Sher-Gil probably shared a fair amount of discrimination and being human, probably dealt with her own insecurities. Despite it all, she seems to be able to forge through and live life on her terms. I can’t help but see a bravery in the way she lived her life and be inspired by her apparent authenticity.
I’m willing to bet a part of what may have made it easier for Sher-Gil to live life on her own terms was the affluent life she was born into. Her mother (Marie Antoinette Gottesman) was a Hungarian opera singer and her father (Umrao Singh Sher-Gil Majithia) was a Punjabi aristocrat, scholar and well-respected photographer. I just think it would have been so easy for her to stay in that world. Instead, she intentionally sought to expand her art by traveling to parts of India to capture life that was so starkly different from her own. As a result, she created a beautiful and unique collection of work that demonstrated her technical talent as well as her ability to tell the stories of her subjects.
From what I have learned about Sher-Gil, she was reportedly an empathetic person, and had a genuine desire to tell the stories of the villagers and women of the Indian population. Using her talent and privilege, Sher-Gil’s mission to give a platform to the lives of those who would usually be ignored or become lost with time makes her feel like a highly relevant artist in our current political times.
9. Group of Three Girls – 1935 10. Child Bride – 1936
If you haven’t come across Amrita Sher-Gil’s art before and would like to read more about her, here are some links:
Things to read about Amrita Sher-Gil:
I’ll be back to crafting next week! Have a great weekend!
*saying I ‘discovered’ Amrita Sher-Gil reminded me of this tweet… https://twitter.com/randilawson/status/653644344742834176