For her first major solo exhibition, Michelle Poonawalla presented a series of multimedia paintings and sculptures that highlighted the bold, experimental spirit of her practice. Working with her signature motif of the butterfly, Poonawalla’s practice took on new dimensions with this body of work, moving deftly from a graffiti-inspired sensibility in her acrylic on canvas paintings, to a more dramatic visual language with her sculptural pieces as well as in the three-dimensional mixed-media canvases, some of which use digital mapping technology. The dynamism of the mapped projection works in particular, highlighted the artists strong visual language and unabashed spirit of experimentation with mediums and new-age technology. The dynamic paintings seemed to "come alive" in the clean, uber-contemporary space, bring a unique dimension of interactivity for the viewer.
For Poonawalla, this series was a statement on the power of beauty, encapsulated by the ephemeral butterfly - a creature that is the result of metamorphosis and one that represents beauty and freedom through the course of its life. The successful reception of this show was a testament to Poonawalla’s sincere, steadfast belief in her artistic style, her imaginative use of her signature motif and her willingness to push the boundaries of conventional art to create a world of fantasy that drew the audience into its mesmerizing maze of beauty, positivity and magic.
What if you fly? marked a definitive moment in Poonawalla’s practice, with paintings that incorporated digital mapping technology, which has since become a mainstay of her practice.
First exhibited at Vis a Vis Gallery, New Delhi in February 2018, the show travelled to Pune to be exhibited at Spazio Gallery in March the same year.