Voyage is the title of the current exhibition at the Art in the Yard Gallery in Franschoek. It runs from 1st to the 26th September and features several artists, among them Vanessa Berlein, Tendai Nhavira, and Sheekha Kalan.
The theme of the exhibition is the Voyage and sets out to explore the idea that the goal of a journey is not the completion or destination but of the full engagement with the Path along the way, regardless of whether these voyages are physical or spiritual.
Sheekha Kalan, whose work Atman IV is featured above, is an aspiring young artist who recently completed her Master’s Degree in Visual Art at Wits University. Kalan’s interest in spirituality is evident from her previous exhibitions titled Atman I and Atman II. Atman is a Sanskrit word which means ‘the self as the subject of individual consciousness, the soul, the supreme personal principle of life in the universe’.
Kalan’s religious beliefs are an important aspect of her work. Her mother is Swamini Vishwamohini, a spiritual leader at the Bhakti Marga. Kalan regards the founder of this religious group – Paramahamsa Sri Swami Vishwanand as her spiritual teacher.
“Exploring space, perception and an inner world has been central to my work and the expression of consciousness (energy) translates into works on canvas, embroidery material and transparent plastic using radiant colours, thread and cotton material. The works display the integration of the material and abstract through washes of colour and hand-stitching as well as experimenting with the limits of two-dimensional and three-dimensional space. In essence, the works depict the process of ‘drawing out’ from the invisible into the visible, personally awakening a stronger perception of the life force that can be termed the atman..”(Kalan)
The bright pinks and oranges found in Atman VII create a vibrant painting that perhaps reflects Kalan’s sense of joy and happiness that comes from her spiritual path. Atman IV (above) with its shades of blue seems to convey peace and serenity. While both these paintings reflect different emotions, both stem from the same religious journey.
Kalan won the Benon Lutaaya Residency Award in 2016 which allowed her to work at the Bag Factory Studios for 6 months in 2017 and undertake another 3 months residency in France in 2018.