There is submission
There is contemplative submission
There is non-contemplative submission
There is melancholic submission
It has its origin in suppression in either case. Suppression of expressions and emotions under the burden of social norms and pressures clashing directly with one’s authentic identity. Expectations of their mothers and anger of their fathers pushing them to adopt a different identity comprised of wearing a mask of a girl that the society accepts. Beneath the masks are conflicted and confused personalities who are devastated by their inability to stand for their authentic identities. Hence the melancholy and the sadness and the disappointment. They have been forced on to a destiny they cannot change or fight.
But this could all be blatantly false. An incorrect understanding of another conditioned mind. A third or fourth generation mind conditioned to see only suppression in all their past. And expected to fight anything with even a mirage of a sign that shows even a trace of suppression in the now.
Perhaps they are three women unable to deal with the struggles of their country then ruled by a foreign power. Their sadness being citizens of a slave country and their inability to participate in its revolution to gain freedom because of household responsibilities or school’s workload.
Perhaps they just had a rough day.
Perhaps they can’t find a connection in each other.
And none of the later scenarios seem fitting because suppression has only one face and that is the one you see on these three women submitting to their suppression in the very clear expressions captured by the artist. They are suppressed to this extent that there is no choice but to give up. To submit in entirety their freedom, their identities, their souls, their feelings. As the audience, we can see this pain. It is raw. It is piercing. We know what is going on in this frame.
Artist’s success has been defining this face of suppression that cannot be mixed or confused with any other theory or theme. You can keep assuming as many scenarios as you want and still return to this one absolute reality. It is specific. It is to the point. It is crystal clear. There is only face of suppression that Amrita has captured here for eternity through her extraordinary art.
I stared and stared at the work for hours questioning my conclusion. In isolation of my cultural contexts and knowledge, would I see anything different from suppression in this work? May be they were just sad. May be it was all made up to create an image. And I kept looking at the girls until I broke down. I don’t see anything other than society’s successful attempts to keep these girls ‘contained’.