L Meena Devi‘s oeuvre of feminine portraits reflects an insider view of a world un-spoilt by consumerism. Her delicate, ethereal and fragile aesthetics, sensuousness of colour and sinuous line-drawing, communicates directly to the viewer. Her painted surfaces, replete with motifs and designs, characteristically influenced by the textile patterns from the North-East, reflect her urge to trace back her lived experience through memories. It is this combination of simplicity of form, draftsmanship, playfulness and attention to details, that offers a sense of visual pleasure, even for the most untrained eye. Yet one cannot escape the impending sense of inexplicable melancholy.
“Playful” yet “morose”; “Simplified” yet “impenetrable”; “Docile” yet “challenging” -it is this quality of in-betweenness, refusing to settle meekly into a labeled category that makes her work really engaging. Her figurative vocabulary and preference of bright colours and design patterns echo an understanding and appreciation of Indian aesthetics in terms of “Shringara rasa” exuding a medley of “bhavas” or emotions. Akin to a continuous narrative, each of her works leads from one to the other, unfolding a personal biography of a particular time and space. Undoubtedly, Meena’s works radiate a feeling of her conscious acknowledgement of subjectivity and identity as a North-Eastern women artist.