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JAYASRI BURMAN –the woman behind mythical canvas

It is not every day that you see a simple canvas reflecting ordinary beings, transform into contours of sheer grandeur
and divinity under the tip of a brush. Artist JayasriBurman’sbrush stroke over the years has metamorphosed into
works that project ordinary men and women with heroic characters raised to the level of Gods and Goddesses often
surrounded by hybrid creatures. Simple characters like a mother nurturing a child or a girl trying to find her identity,
are often bestowed with wings to fly or fins to swimin Jayasri’s work, redefining their freedom, desire and strength.
Perhaps, she sees in ordinary people an extraordinary ability to evolve and flourish.

Born in the city of Joy, Kolkata, her early life was soaked in festivities, colours, folklores and spirituality.It is no
surprise that her artworkcelebrates the feminism and womanhood likened to the female mythical characters of
Indian legends often worshipped in the form of Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Every so often, shepicks a
central character, usually a woman and weaves astory around her with crossed creatures flying, floating or just
standing around, transcending the possibilities in Life science. Her art speaks the language of her imagination with
subtle surprises, sometimes by the presence of a swan, mermaid, pigeon, parrotetc. Her desire to be free and
nomadic as these birds or animals makes her canvasand sculpture invariably fabled and enchanting.As a child she
was always inclined towards writing and poetry, but she also knew that she was destined to be an artist as she was
often inspired by her famous uncle and artist Sakti Burman, a contemporary Indian artist living in France. The enigma
in her work is a powerful souvenir of her métierand personage.

But her art was not always this mystic as today, one can find a distinct transformation in her work of art from late
20th toearly 21st century.Having completed her education from Kala Bhavan, Shantiniketan and Visual College of Art,
Kolkata, she went to learn print making in Paris under the guidance of Monsieur Ceizerzi. Initially, she started
painting in impressionist style with pen and ink, but later she used variousmedia and techniques including etching,
printmaking and sculpting. Many of her early works captured the many parts of India and its people, whichwere
reminiscent of her new-foundavocation for travel back in 1990s. Being a budding artist, she was trying to create her
identity through her innocent, yet delightful paintings, which earned her a lot of appreciation. Her earlier canvasses
echoed her simplicity as an artist, but as her art transformed under her brush, so did her persona as an individual. As
her ability to create flawless paintings evolved, her canvases became more intricate and bold, each image
reverberating feminism and strength through larger than life characters.
According to the artist, herlove for travel gives her inspiration to paint and her prayers give her strength to keep
doing her work with honesty. However, like a child seeking refuge in her mother’s anchal, she found solace in
painting what she believed in and not what the world demanded. she always comes back to the epics and fables she
has grown up with. Her art mirrors her inner self, nostalgia, touched antiquities, perceptions and aspirations. Despite
facing several personal tragedies, she believes in smiling and spreading the smile.Her motto is to disseminate love,
peace and harmony through her paintings and bring people closer to nature.According to her, we are so accustomed
to living in this ‘concrete jungle’ that we have forgotten the real beauty of nature and therefore the many natural
elements in her canvases remind us of our roots.

She isconferred with many awards including the National Award by Govt. of India in 1985 for her graphics. In 1987
her works were featured in International Triennale in Germany, during the same year she received a certificate of
merit from All India Youth Art Exhibition. She has exhibited her work extensively,solo and joint across the length and
breadth of India and the globe. Despite being an artist with immense accomplishments, she never stopsher desire to
learn and create ebullient images with her unique brushstrokes or lifelike sculptures with her tools. Being an
indefatigable creator of bold and beautiful fairy-tale art and being a female protagonist in the male dominant
profession, Jayasri sets an example and continues to inspire a generation of artists to come.

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