B.Prabha documents the pain of women of her country with such empathy that her paintings become the voice of her subjects. Her evocative watercolors and oil paintings are indeed a plea for better sense. The "tragedy and trauma that is the life of an Indian woman." couldn’t have found a more able voice.
Born to a middle class family in Bela, near Nagpur, Prabha completed her graduation from the Sir J. J. School of Art Mumbai with great difficulty. After graduating she held herld the first exhibition of her works in Mumbai, since then has held about 50 exhibitions, both in India and abroad. She has received several prestigious awards.
B.Prabha’s women and their fate
Her paintings explore the struggle and the inevitable fate of Indian women using ominous symbolism, for instance in one of her untitled watercolors, she painted a dark cloud above a young girl's head. She then explained the symbolism by saying-, "This black cloud is symbolic of the struggle the girl child goes through. Her struggle for survival starts from birth --- she has to fight to be born too. Often, a woman is women's worst enemy. So often, the female foetus is aborted. So the girl child is under this black cloud all her life, from birth, probably from even before that, right from when she is conceived."
B.Prabha sought inspiration from the strength that most Indian women showed under such adversity, which is why her paintings are a fragile mix of both.
B.Prabha- over the years
In a career spanning more than 40 yrs, Prabha the painter, has shown incredible growth. From abstraction to figurative works-the change is remarkable indeed, and is a conscious one too, her intention was to reach out to as many people as she could but she also realized that abstraction will only manage to alienate most of the Indian viewers, therefore she formulated a new style, which was in keeping with the Indian Milieu. She drew inspiration from the everyday life of the Indian women –Mumbai fisherwomen on the seaside, clad in colorful sarees, women selling vegetables in the market place, women with their babies, women getting married. Her canvas almost always avoided men, and even if they did find a presence, it was more in the background.
B.Prabha claimed that her paintings are 'impressionistic'. "I am inspired by French impressionists. I derive my style from them, and my content as well as colors from India." She effusively blends reds and blues in her paintings, which are intermingled with the mandatory white. Prabha's figures are intriguing too and are inspired from the works of Paul Klee- elongated necks, arms and torsos.
B.Prabha died in Nagpur on 20th, Sept 2001