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IANSLife | Artist Pooja Iranna and calling a medium her own

By Sukant Deepak

August 29, 2020 (IANSlife) She says that whenever she comes across a new medium, there is a peculiar desire to make it her own. There is fascination to see she can create out of it. “Every time I set foot in my studio, and start work on a new medium, there is a challenge which brings much satisfaction at the end of the day,” says Delhi-based multimedia artist Pooja Iranna, whose work 'Staple Pins and Glue' is being showcased as part of the ‘City Tales’, an online exhibition being held by KNMA.

Recipient of the Charles Wallace India Trust Award, this MFA degree holder from the College of Art, New Delhi, from the very beginning has been fascinated by the architectural format. This was at a time when most artists were engrossed in figurative work. “Yes, even in college I hardly worked on canvases. Then I switched to water colors which was way different from the norms you are taught as a student. 

As everything I saw made by sculptors, painters and printmakers etc was figurative, I felt that I had to say something new in a novel way. Being deeply influenced by the architectural background of my mother's side of the family, we would visit different spaces during my childhood in Delhi. The restoration and construction work in different parts of the city seem to mesmerise me no end. At that point itself I knew that was the direction I wanted to take to express myself,”  Iranna tells IANS.

Talking about ‘Staple Pins and Glue’, a pyramid shaped structure one of her earlier works conceived in 2008, the artist whose works explore architecture spaces and unravels different dimensions of the human psyche says she has always been fascinated by the shape of pyramids. “They have been around for so long and symbolize sturdiness. Shining light on the philosophy that one goes to the top and then always comes back down, I have used this shape in a lot of my work--sculptors, paintings and videos.”

Despite the fact that she comes from a family of major artists --- Rameshwar and Shobha Broota, and is married to well-known artist GR Iranna, Pooja believes that an artist’s work is individualistic as they all live different experiences, undergo diverse journeys and see things their own way. “Also, I feel comparing one artist with the other is just wrong -- be it their parents, their spouse or friends. Looking at my work, no one can say that I have been inspired by my parents, at least that is what I believe. Having said that, I have always taken into consideration their thought processes, not because of how successful they are, but for the fact that they are my parents and I genuinely believe in them.” 

As the conversation shifts to Staple Pins, with which she surprised everyone, the artist says that the idea was discovered in her work space. “It is extremely important to have an intimate relationship with my medium and it should give you the confidence and that desire to keep working even if it takes a lot of time -- even when you are about to fail, it must inspire you to begin all over again.”

And that is what she felt with Staple Pins. “It became a part of me and suited my temperament. It took me a year to find a medium that I could call my own and considering I was working with a new one (medium), there were a lot of new struggles that came with it -- I didn't know how to bind them together, or had a clear understanding about them at the start. It has taken me three years, and yes a lot of frustration to get to the final product. But now I have made a connection.”

For someone whose work talks about the need to preserve the environment and adopt sustainable ways of living, the current pandemic has brought everyone face to face with issues that have been ignored for long. “The lockdown must serve as the time to understand and introspect the result of our actions. Rather than obsessing over 'progress' in the material sense, we need to reintroduce ourselves to our roots and the environment,” she concludes.

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