Soshana’s Art and Ambition
Among the foreign artists and connoisseurs on a visit to Delhi recently was the suave, sensitive and graceful young painter Miss Soshana.
Her paintings are media of expression of the tumultuous emotions surging in the recesses of her heart whose strings are hit by hard human problems. Her deep interest in the sorrows and joys of life - in its meaning, purpose and fulfilment - is vividly revealed in the lines and colours which she creates and continues in her passionate endeavour to express herself.
If her landscapes show how freely she has fallen in love with Nature, her human studies indicate how deeply she has deived into the mysteries of life. Her treatment of social themes hears testimony to the same optimistic and constructive trend of her genius to which her treatment of other themes does. Not a few of her paintings refer to the agonizing subject of war. As they represent destruction in all its horrors and are therefore naturally a blend of terrifying lines and dismal colours, they are likely to create in uncritical minds the impression that fright and pessimism have inspired them. The fact is that whatever thoughts and sentiments they express stam from the artist’s desire and determination that the present should be freed from sorrows and the future should be rendered safe for joys. Her atomic war paintings are sharp warnings to humanity, civilization and culture against the infernal peril threatening them and also in a way exhortations to them for the adoption of measures to eliminate it. Her peace paintings fit her exhortations in lines and colours with positive contents.
In her ardent desire to see as much of the cultural glories of India, reflected in its ancient artistic heritages, as possible, she has fully utilized her brief stay here by being almost always on the move. Talking to me of Ellora nad Ajanta, she went into raptures. She described them as a dream of the past composed of pulsating lines and exciting colours. To the achievements of ancient Indian genius in the realm of architecture, she referred with extraordinary animation.
Then she started thinking aloud on the contrast which the cultural richness of India and her economic backwardness presented. It was a matter of gratification to her that gigantic national construction work based firmly on the international policy of peace was in progress in the country. India was very fortunate, she said, in having a sagacious and dynamic leadership when crisis after crisis was developing in the world.
She terminated her sally into the domain of politics as abruptly as she had made it and returned to the realm of art. "The renaissance in India has deeply impressed me," she remarked. This renaissance could be vitalized by the free functioning of artistic talent of which, in her opinion, there was “a lot” in India. Asked as to what element in her opinion could guarantee that depth and sublimity without which no art could have abiding appeal and value. Sincerity, was her one-word reply - sincerity, she added, was essential for avoiding superficiality. "Form and content alter with altering times," she observed. "But sincerity must be there perennially."
One of the greatest regrets of Miss Soshana is that she cannot prolong her stay in India. Her desire to return here and work here has been intensified into what she calls an ambition by the "wonderful" experience she has had in the course of her peregrinations in the country. "The most impressive sights I have seen during my wanderings in different parts of the world are in this country," she remarked emphatically. And equally emphatically she added, "And the most expressive faces are also here." She does not like Delhi. She wants to come back and find “a quiet, secluded corner in South India” where her senses may have that sheltered, undisturbed repose, which is a precondition to fervent collection of experiences and vivid communication of impressions. Inspiration and elan do require the kind of favourable environment for which Miss Soshana has expressed her partiality. But it is difficult to say why she prefers South India to North, East or West India. Artists, like poets, insist on exercising their prerogative of declaring their presences without revealing their reasons.