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"Reflections" by Amita Sevellaraja

Does art have the power to make us feel like we belong? This was the question I pondered when first experiencing the beautiful illustration Reflections by Malaysian born artist Amita Sevellaraja. Visiting a classical fine art museum can often feel akin to a religious experience, as we’re greeted at almost every turn by depictions of mythology or biblical tales. The angels in the central painting ‘within the painting’ of this piece seem to mimic that sentiment, their wings and halos underlining a link with the spiritually divine. The play of light, with the central piece exuding a symbolic radiance onto its central spectator, seems to highlight a moment of epiphany. The other figures and paintings in the illustration are kept purposely occluded and hidden; our sole focus is to bear witness to a moment of profound connection between one person and a work of art. A love of museums is found throughout Amita’s work, pieces where, in the artist’s own words, conveying emotion through light and color is a priority.

She’s without a doubt successful here, as the drawing really hits home with a genuine sense of longing felt from its central figure. We can imagine this lonely woman, wandering a cold and heartless city, seeking refuge from bitter reality in a museum. There, she somehow feels noticed and seen, not by a fellow visitor but by one of the works. I was reminded of the visual illusion of the ubiquitous gaze that sometimes seems to follow us around as painted eyes surround us. But here the character is deeply moved not just amused and it made me think of the importance of art in just allowing us to connect with our common humanity. I often felt like I was the sole person with a certain distinct feeling in the world, that is, until I stumbled on one artwork or another, of some artist somehow expressing a similar sentiment. The beauty of art is that it can make us (re)discover that we, how out of place we might somehow feel, be it for inner or outer traits, someone, even if it’s only one person, will exist out there that feels or has felt the same.

"Reflections" by Amita Sevellaraja


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