It is not every day that you get to interact with an artist who hails from the culturally oriented city of Kolkata but belongs to a family of businessmen. And that too from a Marwari business family. But then such happenstances do take place as they did in the case of Swati Pasari. Born and brought up in the City of Joy, Swati was studying to become a part of her paternal business of manufacturing but then a wind of change completely shook up her life and saw her entering the field of art which she had never ever dreamt about.
“After completing my schooling from Modern High School in Kolkata, I went to Australia to study commerce at Bond University as I wanted to be a part of the family business. The field of art was never in my mind, leave alone it being taken up as a profession. In fact, no one in the family understands art. To be honest, you hardly find artistically inclined Marwaris. After returning from Down Under, I completed my graduation from Calcutta University but during this period, I experienced an emptiness. I could not understand who I was and what was the purpose of my life,” she says.
Now, this can be a tricky situation to be in when you are 20, live in a joint family with an elder sister and have a wide friend circle. “When this happened, I was led into pranic healing by one of my cousin brothers. And that completely changed my life. As I was not in a great frame of mind, I started painting as I used to make cards and albums during my childhood days on birthdays and anniversaries. The only difference being that I now attempted my creativity on a canvas. But this took off just as a hobby and I had no plans to take it up as a profession,” shares the self-taught artist.
As the number of her canvases grew, so did the number of people around her who told her that she should exhibit these as they found the artworks very creative and different. “So I thought why not? In August 2008, I held my maiden exhibition at Genesis Art Gallery in Kolkata. And believe me as I couldn’t back then that I was sold out. Now, that gave my confidence a big boost,” says Swati who feels pranic healing showed her the right path and gave her the reason for her existence that art is the purpose of her life. “My basic approach has been to spread positivity, happiness and lots of joy through my art,” she says.
But then there was another hurdle to be crossed, the family of businessmen. “No one except my grandfather, late Shri Nand Lal Pasari, who passed away in October last, supported me and it is only because of him that I have been able to achieve what I have. He is my inspiration,” puts in Swati who is both a painter and a sculptor and feels art is not just a painting or a sculpture. “For me, it also serves as a medium to uplift the mood of a person and is, in fact, way beyond that,” she adds.
Over time, opportunities started knocking Swati’s doorsteps and she put up shows at various galleries in Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad and of course, Kolkata. “Thereafter, I did shows in Tokyo, Jakarta, London, Miami and Dubai. I must admit here that galleries have been a big support for me,” she says but then is quick to add that your work needs to stand out else it is not possible to sustain yourself. “The first 15 years are very important in an artist’s life. You need to put in loads of hard work and effort and ensure it is different as no one would want to spend a few lakhs on a normal art piece,” says Swati who completes a decade in the field of art on August 8 this year.
An ardent Shiva bhakt like her grandfather, Swati frequents Varanasi every two months. “I visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple as I feel there is lot of power there. My grandfather was the president of two hospitals in the historic city where my father was born. Now, I am a part of the management committee of the Hindu Sewa Sadan Charitable Hospital. In fact, the proceeds from my works are sent here after the basic expenses are met at my end. The idea is to help other people and usher in happiness in their lives too,” she informs.
Swati puts in that her paintings are a reflection of her thought process. “When I paint, I think and feel inner peace and beauty, serenity and calmness. My paintings manifest these. As I go along with these creations, I build on the idea of what the painting should look like,” she says. Ask her why her sculptures, mostly of Hindu deities, faceless? “The reason if them not having eyes is that no one needs eyes to see god or nose to smell god or mouth to taste Him or ears to listen to Him. Likewise, He doesn’t need them. I am a spiritual person and feel god is within and around us. God, for me, is one. It is a form, a life and this is what I celebrate. When it comes to celebrations, there have to be colours and vibrant hues. That is the reason that you will find a lot of people dancing and playing instruments in my works as this is what life is all about for me,” Swati shares.