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Migrating Forces: Unraveling the Collage of Culture, Gender, and Self By Steve Bridgeman

Updated: Feb 17

Charulata Prasada isn't confined to the label of an artist. She's a storyteller, weaving narratives of gender, societal norms, and personal experiences against the backdrop of her vibrant heritage and international work on intersectionality. Through her collages, Prasada beckons us to a world that is fragmented yet resonantly whole, urging introspection, awareness, and a journey confronting tension and beauty. Born in New Delhi she spent her early formative years in Kanpur, India. Later the family moved to Montreal, Canada. While growing up in Montreal, her home was decorated with Madhubani and Rajput paintings and prints, tribal tapestry, Indian wood carvings and sculptures and it is not surprising that Prasada’s collages are embedded with folk art attributes within a contemporary fine art aesthetic nor is it surprising that her collages are on display as part of Migrating Forces, a group show at James Rottman Fine Arts 830 St. Clair Ave. W., Toronto. In the sphere of contemporary art, she is emerging as an illuminating figure, uniquely wielding the art of collage to craft thought-provoking and challenging stories. Historically, collage served as a means of juxtaposition and abstraction. However, in Prasada's hands, seemingly fragmented elements metamorphose into compelling narrative, mirroring the intricate tapestries of human experience. Her art is a homage to the imperfect. Melding scraps of paper, photographs, and unusual materials, Prasada captures the fractured essence of humanity, highlighting our collective vulnerabilities and bonds. As viewers, it's hard not to find reflections of our own dreams, fears, and the myriad shades of human emotion in these fragmented assemblages. Prasada's artistry, while echoing the dynamism of Cubism, transcends the two-dimensional nature of her chosen medium. Her collage has a textural quality which is almost the equivalent of impasto. The off-kilter perspectives, intertwined planes, and layers impart a sense of depth, compelling viewers into a profound and sometimes unsettling engagement. Each composition pulsates with colour, establishing a rhythmic visual harmony. Central to her narrative is Prasada's vivid Indian lineage. Her oeuvres radiate with hues of vermilion, gold, and turquoise - a testament to India's rich (and oft overlooked) artistic traditions. In the realm of colour, Prasada's artworks showcase a luminous juxtaposition that is evocative of the opulent and shimmering compositions seen in Gustav Klimt's masterpieces. The intricate play of colour and texture, especially in her use of gold, vermilion, and turquoise, draws parallels with Klimt's symbolic and ornamental style. This radiant contrast is not merely a nod to the early 20th-century Viennese artist but also resonates with the ethereal luminosity witnessed in Early Dutch paintings of the 15th and 16th Century, for example, the use of brilliant, shimmering colours of Van der Weyden. It is this fusion of influences, spanning across centuries and regions, which add to the multilayered richness of Prasada's work, inviting viewers to delve deeper into the myriad of stories encoded within her collages. Beyond the visual spectacle, Prasada's work stands out for its audacious deviations. Particularly striking is her commentary on society's standards of gender norms. Familiar symbols from her heritage find harmony with global motifs, crafting a tapestry that's both personal and universally relatable.

Migrating Forces August 25th-October 22, 2023, at James Rottman Fine Arts830 St. Clair Ave. W., Toronto. Charulata Prasada’s Collages are available through James Rottman Fine Arts Steve Bridgeman is a British designer and commercial artist. His rich and diverse creative career encompasses international exhibition design, advertising, and industrial design. Additionally, he has lent his expertise as an advisor to prominent photographic exhibitions across Europe.

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