When India went into lockdown, Delhi-based American artist Christina Banerjee felt the need for a creative outlet. During the lockdown, which she describes as a never-seen-before experience, the artist came up with an ‘Isolation Series’ of paintings, in which she uses the motifs of elephants and flowers against bold backgrounds to represent intense underlying feelings.
The Alabama-born artist has family in both India and the US, two of the worst Covid-19 affected countries, making the uncertainty and loneliness cause a multitude of emotions and feelings. “I first wrote down emotions on my phone and journal, and paintings followed from there,” says Christina, introducing her latest series in art.
Christina Banerjee’s ‘Conflicted’
“My ongoing series ‘Adaptation’ (started 2015) depicts animals in their ever-changing habitats from urban settings. I have now been inspired by Covid-19, like many artists around the world. This deadly disease has brought out a lot of emotions in me and motivated me to begin work on my ‘Isolation Series’,” she says.
Christina, who holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of South Alabama, USA and has been settled in Delhi since almost 7 years, has used a lot of elephants in this series. “Elephants move in herds, they often lose their way and then regroup with the family for love and support. I chose to do elephants because of my love for these giant and gentle creatures. They have kind eyes, wise spirits, and are incredibly smart,” she explains.
“I also use a lot of floral imagery in my artwork. New buds are a symbol of new life, the rebirth of feelings, and hope.”
Christina is also emphatic in encouraging everyone to use the medium of art to vent out their feelings when they feel down and out during the pandemic. She also encourages people to seek for help and social support if they need it.
She emphasizes, “Art is an ideal way to express your thoughts, feeling, and emotions; an international visual language expressed across the world, so use any means of creativity to be your outlet. Whether it be cooking, gardening, drawing, painting, talking to someone on the phone etc, do not be afraid to let your feelings flow. It is important to know you are not alone in the situation. Involve children as well, hand them chalk and ask them to free draw or makes shapes or whatever they see like birds, clouds, trees. Connect children to color, make use of ordinary day things such as foam, bottle, cardboard, stamps or anything. Gather leaves, use tissue papers and use crayons to make a rubbing and see them unleash their creativity.”
Christina has been invited for a solo exhibition on her India lockdown experience-based ‘Isolation Series’ in a gallery at Mobile, Alabama, US.