Bald and beautiful: Odisha-born painter’s inner self on canvas

Bhubaneswar/New Delhi: Daina Mohapatra has been a regular at most art exhibitions in Odisha capital, through her paintings in mixed medium celebrating the self and the strength embodying a woman.

This alumnus of College of Art, New Delhi, breathes freedom through her art works, breaking through the shackles of life and time.

Orderly Command (acrylic on canvas)

A native of Balasore, she has made heads turn with her self-portrait in twins form. “Women have been the focus of most of my paintings. From two to ten, they stand for the struggle and the triumph that follows,” she said.

Conundrum of the Self (oil and acrylic on canvas)

The twins, she and her inner self, string along the issues battling the patriarchal mindset. “It is me that I spend most of the time with. This inner voice too wants to speak and how! The bald look challenges the set rules for women in our society. The beauty of a woman is often associated with her hair, and in my paintings, I set her free from the bondage,” explained Daina about this series on which she has been working on since 2006.

Mannequin Twins (oil and acrylic on canvas)

With ‘My Secret Seven Days’, she created awareness about use of sanitary napkin among school children in Balasore. Her ‘Laxmi and Kali’ symbolized the two sides of women in all its splendour. She also has been showcasing the rich crafts of Odisha, through use of Ganjapa (playing cards) and Dhokra art in her paintings.

Dhokra art finds prominence in her paintings

From ‘Interlude to the Bhubaneswar International Art Fair 2018’ to ‘Kolab’, the painting exhibitions, Daina has carved a space for herself in the city’s art circle with her thought-provoking paintings.

The artwork at ‘Interlude to the Bhubaneswar International Art Fair 2018’

At the recently-concluded Odisha Parba in New Delhi, she stuck to her genre and keeping with the Paika Bidroha theme, brought alive the strength and grace of the brave-heart Karubaki in her painting.

Allegory of the Self (oil and acrylic on canvas)

Currently based in Delhi, Daina believes that her decision to move out of Odisha helped her evolve as an artist. “There are loopholes in the teaching methodology in art colleges in Odisha and no space for contemporary arts. I doubt if my art work on display at exhibitions will even get a buyer,” she told OST.

The Rope of Aspirations (acrylic on canvas)

However, it is difficult to dissociate her from her identity as an Odia, which time and again get reflected in her art works.

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