The Drawers - Saroj Jain   Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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Ethnic Convergence

A formalist who adheres to the conventionality of traditional materials and modernist forms, Saroj Jain has conquered the systems that once allotted the 'stronger' art forms to men. She is one of India's first female artists to venture outside of the craft arts and into the higher realms of sculpture. By adopting the age old techniques of stone carving and bronze casting, both massive and messy mediums that range outside of the more delicate spheres of women, she has grown to a position of eminence. She has also chosen abstraction, the most intellectual of styles and once again asserted herself as a strong presence, worthy of note. Yet she retains a womanly wisdom, one that encompasses humanity and the complex interdependent relationships between people.

She is sensitive and true to her materials, almost as if she has listened to them as they related their history and their connection to the inherent authenticity of the medium. The white stone is pristine, in line with its natural qualities. Bronze, with the age old melting of metal (the first of many philosopher's stones) along with the ancient recipes for process and patina, supports the human subject matter with a tried and true dignity of expression. Bronze and stone, the heavy materials, show commitment to her ideas and within the weighty medium, Saroj Jain makes a feminine statement. Especially in the figurative work, for example Nritya and Soulmate, she expresses feelings from a woman's world. That she he has paired several of her works with Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry further attests to her humanistic orientation.

It was said that only a man could have written “War and Peace” because women stayed at home. Their expression would have to be about the home. Women are in tune with care giving and because of the nature of the ‘occupation’ their accomplishments often go unnoticed. Saroj Jain asserts herself. With masculine means, she brings the heart of feminine insight into the public realm with her formal observance of mankind.

Copyright © 2007,  Julie Oakes