M.F.A. in Portraiture, Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai, 2003
Prajakta, through her works, penetrates into the intermediate spaces, spaces between the inside and the outside, of middleclass households, dump yards, swimming pools and wedding pandals. She tries to paint every detail from the photographic references that she has collected over time.
The images she employs come from her own middleclass background and reflect its insecurities and complexities though they seem very simple and undisturbing at first glance. There are staircases decorated with plastic flowers; fake beautifying objects hanging outside the door; suitcases and airbags pushed onto the cupboard; newspaper stacks lying behind the wooden cabinets; old wall units filled with torn papers, documents, and covered with plastic sheets. Prajakta captures such moments of imbalance where she is very attentive about the details. She reveals the vulnerabilities of middleclass life through such confined and subtle moments.
Prajakta paints the detail with photographic precision but her works never become documentary in any sense. Rather, these objects transcend their present meaning and context, unveiling greater realities, and their formal effect provokes a sense of irony and quirkiness, which is omnipresent in her work. In her paintings she plays with various perspectives, creating images that subvert our understanding of everyday objects. Her paintings reflect surroundings filled with conflict and perseverance, reminiscent of the environs that Palav grew up in on the outskirts of Mumbai. The works often show slums, some of which have been ‘eradicated’ by multi-storeyed buildings, and local commuter trains, which are not much of a spectacle but a lifeline for the working class.
Prajakta Palav Aher lives and works in Mumbai.