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Yashoda Devi

Born in: 1930


Translation in progress

I learned about Yashoda Devi on my first visit to the Indira Gandhi Museum of Man in Bhopal in 1997. Her drawings were among the most beautiful works I had seen by the women of this region. It took several visits to Mithila before I was able to meet her. Forgotten by every- one, Yashoda Devi, who was then more than seventy, lived in a small house without comforts. Having probably been repudiated by her husband and rejected by her family, she lived alone with only her few neighbors for company. Too old to work in the fields, she lived on the proceeds from the occasional sale of drawings that governmental welfare organizations bought from her. As she was very weak, her style no longer had the same confidence as the drawings I had seen in Bhopal and allowed all her distress to show through. Her choice of subjects was directed by a sharpened awareness, while the lines, organization of space, and choice of colors demonstrated both intensity and fragility. Her drawings also made me think of Aloïse, the great lady of art brut. And in my mind I even saw Yashoda Devi’s face over that of Delphine Seyrig, who played Aloïse in a 1974 film directed by Liliane de Kermadec. In this movie, the young Aloïse is played by Isabelle Huppert and the woman by Delphine Seyrig. Among the subjects painted by Yashoda Devi is a goddess (unless it is a self- portrait of Yashoda meditating or at prayer) ringed by a church, two temples, and a mosque. Its subject is syncretism as a message of peace.
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  • Drawing Ink

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Yashoda Devi, Sans titre, Drawing

Yashoda Devi

Sans titre, 1980
29.5 x 21.9 inch


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