That's what Ila titles her pictures of free-floating scapes. The show opened at
the gallery of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology on the occasion of
its 13th Foundation Day celebrations, and saw an audience of scientists and artists
engrossed in her works of 'earth, water and space'. And it was a sheer pleasure
for CCMB to host the show as part of its programs, for it believes that all creative
activities - be in science or in the arts - stem from the same fountainhead of
imagination and motivation.
The works of Ila indeed marked the connection between science, art and aesthetics. The artist seems to narrate the story of a land, but there is no humane element or any narrative description. It's a vast, bird's eye view of a horizon, of rocks, rivers and earth, or is a speedy horizontal view of a landscape. And there is this feeling of space, of being watched, experienced and lived in. Such paintings in large sizes mounting the gallery walls were at once compelling and drawing in, and yet carried this spirit of freedom.
"I watch those fleeting scapes and try to sketch while I am traveling in a train or flying in a plane. And there is this feeling of a whole horizon as though laid out for you to view," says the artist, who captures the same in a light airy aura on her canvas or silk clothe. Conversely, her work is reminiscent of Japanese watercolor paintings done in a similar technique and view scale.
Ila had a long association with the art scene in Hyderabad when she was based here in the late '60s and the early '70s, before she left for Mumbai. She is a self-taught painter, and has worked under M F Hussain before publishing his biography titled 'Beyond The Canvas'. "My present writing is totally fiction, based on a writer and her relationship with a bandit. Here I aim to say a lot minimally, whether through writing or through painting," says Ila, who brings in the painter in herself even while writing, through 'scape depictions and moods' and using less of dialogue and narration.
In all her work, silence and a brooding luminescence circumambulate. They build a tracery of paths that mark a terrain, creating special grids that slip and move between real and imagined horizons.