Come one, come all!!

 (click to enlarge) 

Small works and prints of mine being displayed today evening at Kensington. This event is being organized by Becka Hunter and Cat Bee of the Black Canvas Events team. Tickets will be sold on the door and are only £5. All those in London, please do try to make it. It’s going to be a fun night- some great bands are playing and lovely art works to be seen.

Other news on my art front; was informed yesterday that my new work, ‘The ReBirth’ (shown on my previous post) got selected for the Summer Salon Exhibition at the Islington Arts Factory. The exhibition will run from 20 July – 10 August. Shall post details of the exhibition soon.

Super excited!!


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The ReBirth.

 (click to enlarge)

ReBirth, acrylics on canvas, 30″ x 40″.

Sigh… finally, finally overcoming an artist’s block!

I have been struggling since the last one month… the thing is I know what I want in my mind but the vision just refuses to come up on the canvas. I can leave a work mid-way for a while to start another one but when you are facing the “wall”, you cannot even start a new work. I get up in the mornings with ideas swirling in the head but I just end up staring at the canvas for hours and hours and do nothing at all.

For inspiration; visited art shows, met my artist friends, read/reading (finished Taseer, Gabriel García Márquez currently, soon to start the terrific Manto), saw classic Guru Dutt & Muzaffar Ali films but alas, nothing came to my aid! But today, from all the other days, a day so dull, I finally finish my work- I can now relax and start my new works on a positive note.

This canvas is very dear to me… it depicts the rebirth of me, my identity- an identity I can finally call my own!

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Conception of a dream…

Conception of a dream, acrylics on canvas, 30″ x 40″.

I finished this painting last week and it is one of the four paintings being currently displayed at the Vibe Gallery in Bermondsey. This work took a long time to develop… started it last month (the beginning of it in my ‘Ramblings’ post) and then I let the canvas be by itself for a few weeks (meanwhile I finished another work, ‘Devi’) and when the time was right and this canvas beckoned me, I started work on it again…

Breaking away from the shackles of the mind to realize what is important to you, to desire and achieve what the heart wants, free of inhibitions… a place where you can be true and ask yourself what you really want, no manipulations, no norms of society… does a place like this exist, even if it is in your dreams?

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing,

there is a field.  I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,

the world is too full to talk about…”

Rumi, 13th century poet.

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New exhibitions!!


Absolutely thrilled!! Exhibition coming up at the Vibe Gallery, Bermondsey, London. 4 new works painted this year are being displayed with the preview on 19th April and the exhibition continues till 25th April.

Currently another exhibition is going on at the Higher Bridges Gallery, Enniskillen (N.Ireland), 2 of my prints have been selected to be displayed and this exhibition will be on till 7th May.

And… I have just been informed that 2 of my paintings have got selected to be displayed at the Menier Gallery, London Bridge by the United Society of Artists Council. The preview is day after tomorrow, 17th April. The exhibition will be on till 21st April.

There are times when there is a lull and everything is so dull and gloomy- when works are not being exhibited, I’m dissatisfied with my own work and I’m down in the dumps, wrapped up in my cocoon and not interested in what the world has to offer (sometimes this period can stretch to weeks- my patient husband gets all the flak!) but yes, I do try not to delve too much in my sorrows. Then there are times like today, when everything comes your way, I’m happy with the outcome of my works and the jigsaw pieces start to arrange in their own rhythmic way (husband dearest still by my side)! 🙂

“… If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting…

… If you can dream—and not make dreams your master,
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same…

… If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it…”

Rudyard Kipling, 1895

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A sunday well spent!

A brilliant day yesterday at the Temporary Art Fair!

The venue, Tooting Tram and Social is a converted tram shed- a stunning place with high ceilings, exposed brickwork, old lit chandeliers, ornate antique frames, lovely furniture with vintage fabric- a sixties and seventies feel to the whole place. The atmosphere was perfect for an art fair and from setting up my place, soaking in the ambience, displaying my works, meeting new creative people and with a book to read (my faithful companion everywhere)- I had a great time!!

There were a decent number of people who came at the fair- it’s always nice when your art reaches the general public, instead of catering exclusively to gallery goers… spoke to a reporter from a local community website and yes, she’s mentioned the fair and my works in her article,

The highlight of the day- sold a painting! I couldn’t help smiling on my way back home. 🙂 I have sold work before but yesterday was different. Previously, I have received payment for my works through galleries, cheques, bank transfers but to actually go somewhere and set up your area, sell your work and receive money directly from the buyer- the cash in your hands goes directly to your wallet… it’s something else!

Though mind you, money should never be a motivation to create any work of art (music, writing, painting etc) because it being created solely to earn money corrupts the mind and hampers with your vision. Instead, art should be a soul searching experience, a freedom of expressing your desires, memories, inner thoughts… and if in that process someone appreciates and relates to your work and sometimes wants to buy it, it just gives you some sort of satisfaction that your work perhaps managed to reach out to others (for a painter, money to buy more art material!). 😉

A sunday well spent, a sunday well earned.


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Temporary Art Fair

Small and medium size works of mine being displayed at this art fair in Tooting on 1st April. The fair is showing around 35 artists in a fun and informal way. There will be music all day long and entry is free, all are welcome!

Lots of fairs and exhibitions this summer, looking forward to all (especially the Picasso & Damien Hirst ones). Also, attending Liquid Gallery’s inaugural art fair at Battersea this evening, plenty of artworks to see and meeting fellow artists.

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Devi, a goddess really?

Devi (Goddess), acrylics on canvas, 30″ x 40″.

In the words of Ghalib,

“Bas ke dushwar hai har kaam na aasan hona

Admi ko bhi mayasser nahin, insaan hona”

It is indeed difficult for all work to be easy

It is not easy for man to be a human either

From the ashes, the ‘devi’ and the unborn speak… an endeavour to cleanse the soul of the hypocrisy and hatred around us. The image is created from the heart, purest of the pure.


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Work in progress… shall now stand back and think.

My canvas changes drastically as it progresses further… so this image above may or may not remain so distinct… more work to be done, more layers need to be added. The mind wanders in different directions and from somewhere hidden deep inside you, it will bring up an idea that will change the course of your painting… very important to let the mind wander, to make it think on it’s own!

I remember about 12 years back, my mother found me sitting on the bed, staring at a blank wall and asked me what I was doing and I answered “I am thinking”. At that time she scolded me saying I was wasting time by sitting idle but years later she confessed that my answer took her aback at that time and she being a creative soul herself did realize how important it was to just stand back, stare and think.

… A poor life this, if full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

– WH Davies

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Ten years hence…

Indian memoirs- How long is so long?, acrylics on canvas, 30″ x 40″. (faded text in English, Hindi, Urdu)

27/02/2002, a day crystal clear in my mind’s eye- the weather, the subject I studied (preparation for my A levels), the food prepared for lunch, the colour of the jumper I wore and the exact spot where I stood in the house when I saw the news on TV… it has now been 10 years since the riots broke out in Godhra, an Indian city in the state of Gujarat.

I remember the train journey with my father to Bombay (2 months after the riots). There was a brief halt at Godhra station and I could see smoke charred buildings in the distance. Later that week we travelled to Baroda, another city in Gujarat and I remember someone showing us an area where shops were burnt and told us about the curfew timings… that day we also met a young man who had no remorse whatsoever for the carnage and proudly admitted that he would vote again for the same chief minister in the next elections, even though the CM and his administration did nothing to curb the rioteers. This minister, our ‘modern day Nero’ still runs the state as of today and could now be a potential prime ministerial candidate.

Later in 2002, I joined art school in Bombay and for five years took innumerable train journeys back home and every single time the train halted at Godhra, the images of the burnt buildings would flash across my mind.

“Saints, I see
The world is mad
If I tell the Truth
They rush to beat me
If I lie they trust me

Hindus claim Ram as the One
Muslims claim Rahim
Then they kill each other
Knowing not
The essence

With prayer beads and caps
And brows of holy paint
They lose themselves
In sacred hymns but
Know not their own souls

Many holy men I’ve seen
Teachers of holy books
Who acquire disciples
Venerate graves
But know not God

The world goes on
Like this and yet
They call me mad
But Kabir says, listen
Who’s the one insane?”

– Kabir, 15th century Indian poet.


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Memoirs series and Sandhya’s installation.

The wedding, acrylics on canvas, 30″ x 40″.

Part of the Indian memoirs series, my painting is based on the traditional craft of ‘phulkari’ (‘flower work’ embroidery on cloth). This particular style of embroidery plays a major role in punjabi households and is mostly seen on shawls, traditional dresses and as huge decorative pieces hung on walls. The bright silk threads can light up a dull room and a dull mood! I myself own a lot of phulkari pieces, my personal favourites being the stoles! 🙂 Phulkaris are extensively used in punjabi weddings (cermonies, attires, tokens for relatives, gifts for the bride) and having attended so many of these weddings (two recently, back to back!) since a child, how could I not be influenced by this wonderful craft?

The painting took over a week… layer upon layer playing with yellows and golds, some parts showing relief… bright colours focusing some forms, underplaying other forms… slowly achieving my desired result.

Series progress- so far, so good!

Other interesting news on the art front, Sandhya Pai (my friend and ex-JJite too) starts her installation show tomorrow at the Noble Sage Gallery, East Finchley. Sandhya has been working on the concept and the intricate work since months and yesterday, finally installed the show! It took a whole day to install and both of us enjoyed setting it up. I have never worked on an installation project before and it was a great experience for me to help Sandhya and see her transform a circular bare space into something magical! The show aptly titled, ‘Grass Roots’, focuses on the themes of rituals, memories and history. The ‘soil’  is newspaper pulp, the “stuff of words and letters that together makes up our living recent history made into a paradoxically non-recognisable, non-readable, natural soil-like surface.” The cut out pieces (Sandhya and her family members playing major characters in these drawings) emerge from the ‘soil’ like “little idols of real life for us to worship in this extinguished pyre”.

It was great to see the installation first hand and I’m happy I got the opportunity to set it up with the artist. I know how it feels when you see your work finish and the joy that it gives you and seeing Sandhya at the end of the day with a happy and content glint in the eye was heart warming… wishing her luck for the show and hoping her preview party tomorrow is a huge success!

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