From purpose to practice, these artists showcase the importance of lifelong learning and exploration
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 390 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
The works of eight artists were showcased recently at the exhibition ‘Diverse Perspectives,’ at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bengaluru (see Part I of our photo essay here). The artist lineup featured Afshana Sharmeen, Aishwarya Ramachandran, Kanthimathy V, Pramila Gopinath, Reena Kochar, Shamlee, Shanker Sundaram, and Vinitha Anand.
“Art is a way of life. My works reflect my life, and the tigers are my strength,” explains bio-medical engineer and artist Aishwarya Ramachandran, in a chat with YourStory. Her works are realistic representations of the regal persona of tigers, and promote conservation of India’s national animal.
The full-time artist has been painting tigers for the last eight years, and has created over 200 works on the animal. “I have had four solo shows, and have been a part of multiple group shows in India,” the Chennai-based artist adds.
“Once you have a good hold over the realistic portrayal of your interests, your creative expressions of them become stronger,” she explains. As an artist, there is always a lot to learn every day.
“Learning something new and practising it is an unending process. And a beautiful one at that,” Aishwarya says. “I am extremely happy to have chosen this field, and my first success was continuing to pursue the field of art. The day people appreciate your work and recognise it, that's the day I believe my art has tasted success,” she adds.
At the exhibition, Aishwarya exhibited acrylic works on canvas, with messages cautioning against human encroachments into tigers’ territories. Her artworks are priced from Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 lakh. Her other works include human and pet portraits, in acrylic and oil pastels.
She advises audiences to approach art with an open mind, so that they can understand the artists and their work better. “Never give up, and always, always continue to draw and paint,” she urges, as tips to aspiring artists.
The exhibition also featured a range of sculptures by Reena Kochar. “Art makes me happy. I tap into my inner self when I draw or sculpt and it centres me,” she explains. Her subjects are based around female forms and heads, which are often embellished with engravings or motives.
“My female sculptures are stylised to emphasise the contours of the natural feminine form. The themes revolve around human characteristics – thought-processes and behaviour – and how we function in society,” Reena explains. She often includes elements of nature in her work, to depict human bonds with earth.
Reena started painting in India under the tutelage of A.V Ilango, and has continued her work after moving to Malaysia 15 years ago. She has exhibited at the International Art Expo in Malaysia, and at the Sutra Gallery, Kuala Lumpur. In association with the National Art Gallery in KL, she will be participating in a group art exhibition early next year, themed ‘Connect and Disconnect’.
As trends in Indian art today, she points to styles and influences from the digital world. “Traditional art themes in India, based on its rich heritage, are also being executed in a contemporary manner creating global interest in what our art scene has to offer,” Reena observes.
Regardless of style, originality and honesty in every artist’s work are what connects them to their audience. “This is the theme trending through contemporary art in India today, where every young individual is speaking his or her truth,” she says.
Reena sees success for herself as an artist when viewers connect with what she is portraying. “Sharing that experience with a stranger is very rewarding,” she adds. Her artworks are priced from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 85,000.
Her works often involve distinct components woven together in a single piece to depict their interconnection. “When I begin a sketch or a doodle, an idea transports me to a place of endless possibilities. This is the seduction of creating – you become a part of what you create and what you create becomes a part of you,” Reena evocatively describes.
She advocates art appreciation activities be included in all school curricula on a more serious level, along with field trips to exhibitions and interactions with artists. This can improve understanding, awareness and interest.
Reena advises audiences to view art holistically, spanning subject matter, medium, and style of execution. “Only then might the viewers’ emotional reactions link to what the artist is communicating,” she explains.
She also offers tips for aspiring artists. “Get a solid foundation. Learn the basics. Practice – it will only improve your skills,” she urges. “Paint from the heart! Experiment. Be fearless,” Reena signs off.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule, and find ways to interconnect and balance all your creative sides?
Got a creative photograph to share? Email us at PhotoSparks@YourStory.com!