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Threads and beyond

Naguesh Rao Sardessai

“You can sew your own curtain to remain hidden from the dark side of the world,” thus said well-known poet, Munia Khan. Liesl Cotta De Souza, noted senior artist, does exactly that, albeit with a twist through her unique art works. Here, she brings forth, to the viewers, the bright side of life, especially in the life of women.

‘Beyond Thread’, an exhibition of her recent works, showing at the Art Gallery in the Maquinez Palace, Panaji gives a gist of her philosophy of life as an artist. Liesl, using simple thread and fabric, produces works that pushes the viewers’ imagination and entices them into visual engagement. Feminine subjects and nature collectively populate her creative brain and flow through her, only to speak via systematically guided thread and orchestrated fabric pieces.

‘I just flow like the river carrying and depositing nuances as I move on whilst executing my art works,’ says Liesl. ‘At Leisure’ and ‘Across the Sands’ are examples in Liesl’s creative maturity. Using the visual texture on the printed fabric, she weaves a story against the background, smartly manipulating the thread to bid her saying.

‘My paintings are executed in a medium that’s unique and yet has been a preoccupation for women through the ages,’ states Liesl. Liesl has elevated a simple women centric craft to the realm of fine art. She explores the use of thread and appliqué on printed fabrics, beyond craft, by bringing it into contemporary idiom. “The use of printed fabrics as a base or rather a background for my work was spurred from seeing women wear clothes with varied prints which highlighted and unleashed various aspects of the character,” explains Liesl about her work.

Natural elements like wind, water etc. add to the movements in the design on clothes people wear according to Liesl, and this fascinates her as an artist. She works on various levels. Usually, using design as a part of the subject, whereas at times she weaves a story around a design and sometimes the readymade print speaks by itself with minor intervention.

“I do not find it necessary to interpret my works because I attempt to present the visual delights of life through the feminine form. The underlying layers of thread and fabric express my interpretation of the mundane world and the urban attitude we put up with. I have been trying to talk about the domestic chores and other issues through my works,” says Liesl.

Liesl enjoys the process of creation and releases the completed piece for general interpretation, unperturbed by any type of reactions.
‘Frolicking Damsel’, ‘Into The Skies’ and ‘Reaching For The Moon’ are some of the most scintillating works where Liesl’s skill, eye for details and creativity is amply displayed.

Her creations are no less paintings. They are paintings executed in thread and fabric.

(The show will be on view at the Maquinez Palace till April 5)



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