Chocolate Box, late 1990s

3.5×4.5 ft,oil on Masonite board, gifted to the Mansoorie family

The background in this painting is the inside tray of a chocolate box. I was holding the box in my hand and looked at it with concentration, noting that it had a beautiful geometric pattern. I knew right away that I wanted to do something artistic with the image before me.

I did not find the chocolates themselves at all interesting to paint.However, when I really started thinking about the chocolate box, my thoughts wandered to the various meanings of such a gift.  Sometimes chocolates are a symbol of love, or given as peace offering, or possibly as an exchange gift. Sometimes the expectations of the giver come into the picture as wasoften the case when I would receive them. That was true with the box that I was looking at.

The chocolates I saw in the box werevery different. Each had its own flavour, personality,shape and size.The faces of different women suddenly came to my mind’s eyewhile I thought about the chocolates displayed on the tray. The women’s different shapes, moods and expressions appeared before me.I thought about these women who visited my imagination, are they recipients of chocolates? Most likely they are, but what are their stories?
In the indentations in the box created in this painting I show women who are entirely different from each other. The variety of types of women, their looks, emotions and moods emphasise their differences. Using their own imaginations, viewers cancreate storiesand drawtheir own conclusions about the women pictured.

This painting was very challenging for me because I could not calculate and hand draw the geometric patterns of the chocolate plastic tray which was imprinted with circular baskets and bent ridges on a shiny silver surface. As a result, the entire painting was painted freehand with very little prior drawing by hand.

The painting hangs in a flat where six women live together, making a life for themselves.