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Life- joy and sorrow.

BirthLife, acrylics on canvas, 36″ x 18″, 2013.

“… When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. 

When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, ‘Joy is greater than sorrow’, and others say, ‘Nay, sorrow is the greater’.

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced…”

– Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet.


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One for the road.

Pondering over...

Pondering over, oils on paper, 2006.

It has been a while since I last wrote here (felt stagnant, so caught up with family and friends in India) but I am back now with a fresh outlook and brimming with new ideas- back to beautiful and cold England!

The new year is upon us all and this will be my last post for 2012. So, here are some pearls of wisdom that I came across, to cheer all those creative people who have been down in the dumps lately.

10 Things Artists Should Be Thankful For.

“Print this out, fold it up and put in your wallet.  Send it to your artist friends.  Read it whenever you feel all your work is for nothing and you are thinking maybe you should just stop making art and grow up.  Post it in your studio when you are wondering what the heck you are going to do with all this work?  But, most of all… believe it. Remember, it is impossible to feel thankful and be depressed at the same time.

1. I am thankful that I am not one of the majority of people in this world that wakes up every morning, goes to a job they hate, just to come home and do it all over again.

2.  I am thankful that when I am away from my studio, my ideas come with me, they keep me company everywhere I go.

3.  I am thankful for this passion that gives me so much joy (and angst) but mostly joy.

4.  I am thankful that when I have left this earth, I will leave something meaningful behind.

5.  I am thankful that I have a mind that cannot sleep, I will never be bored.

6.  I am thankful that there is a part of my life that nobody can control, except me.

7.  I am thankful that no one in the world can ever take this gift from me.

8.  I am thankful that I am brave, it takes courage to pursue my gift.

9.  I am thankful that I am never satisfied, it forces me to move forward and grow.

10.  I am thankful I discovered this list! Pass it on.”


Cheers to new beginnings… wishing you all a Happy Christmas and New Year!

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The past few weeks…

‘Tying loose ends’ exhibited at Cultivate, Vyner Street Gallery. I was meant to display three more works but they got sold before the exhibition so pretty happy on that front!

I have been working on a new painting since a month and I have now reached a point where I’ve got stuck and don’t know how to proceed further. I have had sleepless nights over it and I now think that I should start another work and leave the current one to rest till further notice. I need to bring fresh new ideas to new works so till that happens (!), I’ll probably do some good ol’ sketching and colourful portraits to keep the momentum going.

Recently, I volunteered for a mural project near Regents Canal at Haggerston. The project was run by City Arts, an American organization that runs community based art projects in different countries. It works in collaboration with artists, children and volunteers. So, this mural in London on ‘Peace’ (pictures below- work in progress) was designed by taking fragments of sketches done by children in the local community. Artists employed by the organization finally drew the full design on the wall and volunteers like me helped with the details and painting. I went for a couple of days and thoroughly enjoyed the process. The mural attracted lots of people passing by including teenagers who were curious about the work. I think the design was spot on to go with the multicultural ambiance of the area.

And so, with this mural, my art school specialization subject finally came into practice!

  Working hard and with concentration. 😉

The wall is at Dunston Road (where it meets Kingsland Road) at Haggerston, London so anyone interested in seeing this piece is most welcome to pop by any time.

PS: What a dull and gloomy day today and before I start harping on about the weather, I need to get back to work. Looking forward to the Frieze Art Fair tomorrow at Regent’s Park. It will be a long day and I shall come home with aching bones. Ah, that rhymed!

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Exhibition time!

My work will be displayed for the ‘Shoes’ group exhibition at Cultivate Gallery, Vyner Street, London E2 9HE. The preview is on 20th Sept and the exhibition runs till 3rd Oct.

There will be paintings on shoes, photographs of shoes, performances in shoes… high heels shoes, great big boots, training shoes, work shoes, horse shoes, old shoes, new shoes…

So, hop along and grace the gallery with your presence!


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Fragile- Handle with care, please!

 (click to enlarge)

Handle with care. Acrylics on canvas, 36″ x 18″ each (diptych).

“And a woman spoke, saying, Tell us of Pain.

And he said:

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.

And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.

It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility:

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,

And the cup he brings, though it burns your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.”

– Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet.

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The genius of Vermeer.

Girl with a Pearl Earring (c. 1665 – 1667) Oil on canvas, 18″ x 15″ (approx.) Artist- Johannes Vermeer.

Isn’t this beautiful? I can look at this image for hours; lost in the girl’s gaze, admiring the beauty of the brush strokes, the shadow and light, the rich blue, the folds of the head cloth, the highlighted pearl earring…

I first came across this image when I had just turned 13 years old, on the back cover of an issue of Reader’s Digest (I don’t know how it is today but in the mid to late nineties, the Indian editions of the magazine always had painting images on their back covers). I was home for my school holidays (from boarding school) and in the afternoons when the household was in siesta mode, I used to go up to this small room on our terrace to search for all the old issues of the magazine, piled up against a wall on a large trunk. The sole purpose of this rummaging was to copy these paintings on small oil/watercolour sheets! One day, I came across the Girl with a Pearl Earring and I remember that even then with the magazine in my hands, I stared at this painting for a long-long time.

There is something so mesmerizing about this work. The innocence, grace and beauty of the girl is captured so well by Vermeer. It’s hard to describe but I feel the painting is so simple and uncomplicated- when you look at it; time stands still, the noises and humdrum of life fade away and you get lost in the painting. Every time I look at this image, it evokes the same undiluted feeling… truly one of Vermeer’s best works.

“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever;
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing…”

John Keats, Endymion, 1818.


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Summer Salon exhibition.

My work is being displayed at the Summer Salon exhibition, Islington Arts Factory. The preview is this friday, 20th July. The exhibition runs till 10th August so, all those who can’t make it for the preview but are genuinely interested in seeing, feeling, experiencing (and much more…) art, please drop by any other day.

“A hundred sights present themselves, you need only lift your eyelids

But where’s the strength to lift the gratitude of sight.”

– Ghalib

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Work in progress.

My ambitious little work in progress… currently a diptych but will soon turn into a triptych, hopefully! As of now, the middle panel should be full of texts, next to these two panels. All this in my mind though, in reality, not even one panel is finished yet- yikes! It is a double-edged sword situation, over thinking ends up in slowing my speed but then the end result is more satisfactory in comparison to the other works.

And to top it all, I need to visit the Picasso exhibition before it finishes and dear ol’ Munch’s works are being exhibited too… still haven’t caught up with the Invisible show at Hayward Gallery… the SWA show at Mall Galleries… blah… blah… so much to do in so little time. I need a twin, one to finish my works and one to savour all the other beauties of life!


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A year goes by…

Formation, acrylics on canvas, 36″ x 18″.

A month of layers, imprints, dots, missing pieces and colours. I think with this canvas I end the discovery paintings and head to the analysing ones- lots of issues to ponder upon, don’t know where to begin. It’s been a year (on 13 June, 2012) since I started treading on this path and I have loved every single moment of it- ups and downs, highs and lows.

A piece of good news, I have an exhibition coming up at Radcliffe & Newlands at Liverpool Street. This firm organized an Open Art Competition and my work (How long is so long?) got selected. 🙂 There is a preview on 5 July, 2012 starting 6 pm at 14 Bonhill Street, EC2A 4BX. So, friends and foes (!), please do come along.

Other art news, saw an exhibition curated by Jaishri Abichandani at Rossi & Rossi Gallery in Mayfair. The exhibition titled ‘Stargazing’ showed the works of Anita Dube, Chitra Ganesh, Mithu Sen, Nida Abidi and Jaishri herself- yes, a powerful feminist exhibition. I also got the opportunity to help a little for the installation of Anita Dube’s work so, meeting her and seeing her set up her work was a wonderful experience! Also, meeting the other artists and hearing them talk about their works, their concepts and their journey was inspiring and enriching indeed.

So, time to get down to brass tacks and start my work with a new gaze on the newly ordered canvases, all piled up in a corner of the room. Here I come!

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Remembering Husain.

The Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group in 1947.

The group was formed by Francis Newton Souza (came across his work at Tate Britain recently) and seen in this photograph are Syed Haider Raza, Tyab Mehta, Vasudeo Gaitonde and my favourite Maqbool Fida Husain.

MF Husain, 29 November 1913 – 09 June 2011.

I remember seeing Husain’s black and white serigraphs of the Benaras Ghats when I was about 15 years old and being mesmerized by the strong lines. I later came across a copy of the script of ‘Gaja Gamini’ (movie directed by Husain in 2000) through one of my father’s friends and admired the colourful drawings of the ladies in sarees. The script was painted scene by scene! Husain’s huge canvases, the bright reds and yellows… strong, bold and angular lines… so much energy and passion in those strokes.

It has been a year since your passing dear Husain, you were and always will be an inspiration!

PS: I came across this photograph in the brochure of The Bombay Art Society’s 114th All India Annual Exhibition (2006). There was a small piece written about Husain and he had shared the above photograph. The thought of this exhibition always brings back fond memories because it was my first ever!

PPS: Husain’s birth date is given 17 September 1915 on the net but having visited his grave today, the date written on the tombstone is 29 November 1913.


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