Practice, progress, personality: artist tips for the long but rewarding creative journey

In good times as well as tough times, art can pick up our spirits. In our second photo essay on the Maitree Utsav exhibition, we showcase more artworks along with artist insights on creativity.

Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 460 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bengaluru recently hosted an exhibition titled Maitree Ustav, featuring the works of 20 artists from across India. Organised by Onkon Art School, the artworks span a range of styles, forms, themes, techniques, media, and messages (see Part I of our coverage here).

The artist lineup featured AK Rajesh, Anindya Ghosh, Nanda Ediga, Ayan Das, Dipak Kundu, Gauri Shankar, Kanakaraj AM, Lata Iyer, Milna Sajee, Mousumi Banerjee, Pankaj Gupta, Rajrappa Roy, Raju Thanakulam, Ritupama Roy, Sarbani Bose, Shimona Agarwal, Swaroop V, Shilpa Ostwal, Sreenivas P, and Warsha Lath.


“Maitree, as the name suggests, is friendship. This exhibition was a celebration of friendship. Artists across India came together to display their unique style,” explains Swaroop V, in a chat with YourStory. The selection was purely by merit, and works were chosen if they were unique, whether contemporary or realistic.

As trends in Indian art, Swaroop points to minimalistic and monochrome styles, human figurines in contemporary art, and transformed traditional art.

“For me, art stated as a hobby, then developed as passion, and now obsession,” Swaroop says, recalling her journey. “My hobby now is to spread the art movement,” she enthuses.

For the Maitree Ustav exhibition, Swaroop prepared works derived from the Panch Bootha (five elements) of the Upanishads. Triggers for the artworks included natural disasters like the bushfires in Australia, tsunami, and a visit to Hampi.

Swaroop’s art works at the exhibition were priced from Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000. Her next projects include simplistic monochrome works reflecting the Navarasa or nine human expressions.

She was pleased with the feedback from the exhibition. “It was very well received by art experts, fellow artists, art collectors, and the general public. The overall theme as well as narration and colours were appreciated,” Swaroop proudly says.

“Thanks to the efforts of organisers like Sarbani Chatterjee, we artists got a great opportunity to learn from each other and from the master artists. Twenty artists from across India with varying styles and experiences came together for the exhibition,” explains Milna Sajee.

Gallery visitors appreciated the mix of realistic and traditional works. Many eminent artists who visited the show were gracious enough to impart their knowledge, she adds.

For the exhibition, Milna prepared watercolour abtracts on paper. “The process of each artwork was different. Some just happened as they progressed, others were a result of strong emotions, and yet others were the translations of ideas and thoughts,” she explains.

The artworks were priced at Rs 45,000 each. Milna practices with various mediums and styles in parallel. “I am currently experimenting in dry media as well as acrylic on a larger scale,” she says. Her hobbies include reading, photography, stitching and music.


Swaroop and Milna both offer words of advice for aspiring artists. “Never stop aspiring. Success is for sure a definition of one’s satisfaction, but enjoy every small milestone. Move ahead with confidence in yourself,” Swaroop advises.


“Consistent practice is a must. Finding our own path is much more rewarding than following somebody else’s,” Milna signs off.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and unleash your unique creative voice?

Swaroop V, Nanda Ediga, Lata Iyer, Shilpa Ostawal (L to R)

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(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)


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