A Goddess for Basant: YG Srimati’s Saraswati

It’s Basant Panchami!

We celebrate Basant Panchami and the onset of spring with a painting of the deity to whom the day is dedicated- Goddess Saraswati. As a symbol of wisdom and learning, this version certainly captures that sentiment. While we were mostly familiar with the very Raja-Ravi-Varma and similar depictions of the Goddess, this one by artist YG Srimati came as a total surprise and quickly became a favourite!  

The Artist- YG Srimati

All words fall short when talking about the artist YG Srimati : an artist India seems to have forgotten ☹️ She was not known to be a good self-promoter at all …so that could be one reason. She painted at a time which was defined by nationalism (she worked closely with Gandhi) and immigration (she subsequently moved to the US) and truly took Indian culture to the world. Did you know she was trained in classical music and dance as well? In that way, her painting of Goddess Saraswati is truly special!

Looking at her art

With intricate artwork, it’s always fun to imagine and retrace the steps the artist would have taken. What would they have made first, what would have come at the end? It’s an interesting thought exercise- and with this artwork, we don’t know where to start! 😂😉 YG Srimati was greatly inspired by the aesthetic of Nandalal Bose and Ajanta Murals. Look how closely another artwork of hers resembles the one at Ajanta!

This year for Art+Feminism’s 3rd year in India, we’re focusing on women artists like her who have not received their due in the public domain. Find out how you can participate here!

View the full image on Instagram

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