Invested in painting, she readies for a brush with the art fraternity


Daughter of renowned artist Sunita Rani Sandhu, Jassi is a self-taught artist who is deeply influenced by Hindu mythology and is gearing up for her first exhibition.

Artist Jassi Sandhu

The world of Hindi cinema has always seen children of famous actors sauntering into the limelight once they come of age. The lure of the greasepaint is so irresistible that hardly anyone manages to escape it. Not Jassi Sandhu. Daughter of yesteryear actor Mahendra Sandhu who has acted in various Hindi and Punjabi films, Jassi fell for a different sort of paint. She is an accomplished artist based in Mumbai, and is gearing up to exhibit her paintings for the first time.

Jassi, by her own admission, had her heart and soul invested in painting ever since she was a child.

“It (acting) was a thought that must have come to me maybe as a growing up [sic] girl, but my heart, soul and passion were only for painting. Seeing so much love towards painting and art, my dad even made me my own art studio at our farmhouse. Most of the time you would find me there, bringing out the best of my thoughts,” she says in an e-mail interaction with HerStory.

Of colours and canvases

Jassi began her journey through colours and canvases when she was a child. At first, it was limited to helping her mother, renowned artist Sunita Rani Sandhu. As she grew older, she picked up her brushes and started translating her imagination on canvas.

“I was influenced by the style I saw my mom creating, but I gradually developed my own,” she says.

Jassi's paintings are unusual with each one resembling a collage of various ideas and painting techniques. To the onlooker, it may seem like each piece of art carries a narrative.

A self-taught artist who has learned to paint by merely watching her mother, Jassi is deeply influenced by Indian mythology. She says mythology is, in fact, her muse.

“Every painter has a muse; mythological subjects are my favourite topics. There is something magical and inspirational about mythological subjects that I like and try to capture,” she explains.

Visual storytelling

Each painting comes with a story and the creation is elaborate. “There is no set procedure,” she says. “When I imagine a painting, I imagine a story that would define the painting. I wanted my work to stand out and not be perceived as just that of another new artist on the block. This led to creating my unique style,” Jassi says.

Most of her paintings are in shades of red and brown. Jassi chooses these colours primarily because they give her paintings an antique look.

“These darker shades are prominent than the pastel ones. In Hindu mythology, red is shagun ka rang, which is in sync with the theme of my paintings,” she explains.

Jassi could be self-taught but she derives her inspiration from many well-known artists. Other than her mother, she is deeply influenced by the paintings of Raja Ravi Verma, Atul Dodiya and MF Hussain. She draws inspiration from various aspects of their paintings because each artist is so different from the other.

“Every artist is unique in their own way. For example, Sunita Rani Sandhu is a wonderful artist, and also my mother, who has been my biggest inspiration all along. My mother’s woodwork creation is a delightful sight. The women in her paintings and their eyes are outstanding,” she explains.

Deriving inspiration

Elaborating on what inspires her about other artists, she says, “Raja Ravi Verma had a great talent in giving proper detailing to the women in his paintings; the fine brush strokes in his paintings are very hard to match. Atul Dodiya, a well-known artist, also known as a figurative painter, drew inspiration from figures. His love for painting is not only on canvas but also on shutters, which took the art of painting to a new level. Then last but not the least, MF Hussain, who was also called as painter of the “new India” post partition. His style of painting had a modern technique and motifs of Indian urban and rural life. His artwork was not only modern but also diverse.”

Until now, her paintings have mostly been bought up by friends and family. Jassi is now readying for her first solo exhibition, to be held in Mumbai from December 7-13, which she says is the culmination of working day and night for three long years.

In her early 20s, Jassi is doing a lot more than her peers would be. Did she miss out on the fun that girls her age would otherwise have? She says this experience itself has been a lot of fun.

“It has taught me to have the patience to achieve something and this is something that I will never forget,” she says.


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