A monsoon-clad evening in late July. About two dozen art enthusiasts. Photographers, artists and me, the sole writer-cum-artist. The wall in front of me of the Durbar Hall Art Gallery, Kochi, is adorned with paintings of diverse women. Strong. Broken. Sensational. And on the bottom right corner, on an envelope sized plaque, my words. Of love, heartbreak and a bit of quirk. Sitting 1,259 Kms away in my apartment in Mumbai, I watch a part of my dreams take flight through a five-inch screen.
Three years ago, when I was still too shy to put up my writings and artworks in public, I asked Ashish Mathai, a photographer-artist friend of mine, “What say we do a collaboration?” What started as longish captions for his Instagram posts later turned into poems, short stories and eventually a thematic set of paintings, each of which had a story to tell. And thus began a dream of an exhibition together, followed by a string of opportunities, which unfortunately never saw the light of day. Until The Hidden Tales, a group of art enthusiasts from all over Kerala, decided to hold a group exhibition precisely at the time I left the city, chasing more pressing aspirations.
As art supplies and photography equipment come at a hefty price, one would not want to spend further on organising and conducting exhibitions. That is where The Hidden Tales comes to the rescue. They not only help in cost-cutting and reaching out to a larger crowd, but get the artists in touch with professionals. This exhibition in Kochi, for instance, was inaugurated by Ajayan Chalissery, a renowned art director from the Malayalam film industry, who also shared his valuable opinions about each work of art.
While few of my writings up on the wall made up for my absence, I wish I could have put up a few of my paintings as well. After all, who would not like to flaunt their art in front of an idol like Chalissery? Just as my thoughts wander in remorse, the hustle on the screen jolts me to the present. The view on the other side changes from paintings to photograph; from creator to creator. The phone switches hands; one after the other my friends strain to hear me amidst the noisy crowd. Though a part of me aches, the excitement is sky high. As the camera takes a few steps backwards, I watch the admirers and the latter part of my dreams burn brighter. Perhaps on another day, at a venue in the vicinity, the writer could pen stories on her own paintings?