Mango People is a solo exhibition of paintings by the artist Ponnu Elizabeth Mathew. The title of the show is inspired by ‘everyday people’, especially women, who do ‘not-so-everyday things’. The artist is inspired by women who are not only emotionally strong, but also physically robust. And through her semi-figurative works, she has captured that.
The purpose of the exhibition, she says, is not only to showcase her works to the public for the first time but also tell women that they can be who they really want to be. “You can be a lifeguard, a body builder or a martial arts practitioner. Nothing should stop you from achieving your dreams. There is a lot of stigma in the society when it comes to the paths women choose. Overcoming that is one battle. Then there is the other battle – the one within yourself. Especially when it comes to something physically excruciating, the doubt begins. I personally experienced that when I ran my first half marathon last month. Sometimes, it’s a battle within the mind. Anyway, I completed the race after telling my doubts to go take a hike,” she says. The artist points out that it was her Krav Maga instructor who taught her to face her fears. “We had a session where we were supposed to carry each other on the back. I was the only woman in class that day and I had to carry a man twice my size. At first, I laughed. But my instructor told me that I can do it if my mind decides to do it. So in the end, my mind decided to go for it,” she says. The paintings are defined by simple lines and delightful colours. The artist has primarily worked with acrylic. “Oil painting has taught me the virtue of patience. But I personally love to work with acrylic because it dries faster.”
Ponnu Elizabeth Mathew is a journalist who chose to make the paint brush and canvas her new pen and paper. Though she says that she was no Picasso in school, she decided to pick up the paint brush on her on terms when she was 18. She has been painting ever since and Mango People is her first exhibition. The works were on display in Bangalore from August 21 to 23, 2015 at Rangoli Metro Art Centre.