Pavani Nagpal brings to fore ‘body positivity’ at Mumbai Art Fair

 Pavani Nagpal brings to fore ‘body positivity’ at Mumbai Art Fair

Rajkumari Sharma Tankha

What began as an hour-long art class at the age of 6 every Sunday soon consumed Pavani Nagpal fully and wholly. She opted for Fine Arts in school (DPS Vasant Kunj), and went on to do a Diploma in painting from LaSalle College of Arts, Singapore followed by BFA( painting) from Amity university, Noida. Currently pursuing her MFA (painting) from Amity university, Noida, the passionate artist is exhibiting at the Mumbai Art Fair being held from January 19-22.

She is displaying 11 figurative abstracts titled, Break the Barrier, focused on Body Positivity and the innate strength of a woman, at the Fest. These works she made in flat 60 days. “I didn’t have much time to create these paintings as my last exhibition was in October, and I didn’t want to showcase old works in the beginning of the New Year,” smiles the 27-year-old. Excerpts from an interview:

What explains your interest in body positivity?
Body positivity is not just a movement it is an emotion for me. I am a six-feet-tall Indian woman, and I’ve been following fad diets since I was 18. I was never told that I am perfect the way I am, even if I felt my best one day, I surely encountered someone who asked me about my weight or my height. I have grown up fighting battles with my body image. All this is because of the beauty standards set by the society. I want everyone to love and embrace their flaws and imperfections. It’s not any particular gender, my art is for all. You know we have no facetune or filters in real life, it’s just us and our reality sitting next to us, we hate it or love it we have to survive with it. So why not we better love it?

What other aspects of women empowerment have you touched through your art?
I have tried to depict a lot of topics like marriage, divorce, dowry, domestic abuse, self-love, self-worth and gender equality.

Is the use of circular canvases as also the vibrant colours a conscious decision? Please explain.
I love colors. They represent my personality- vibrant and chirpy. Bright, poppy colors make me happy and uplift my mood. This is what I want my paintings to do. I want my art to add life in a dull space. I love experimenting with unconventional shapes and sizes when it comes to canvases.

You primarily work with charcoal, ink, acrylic and stay away from oil paints…why?
Oil paints are a beautiful and classic medium to work with but they take a lot of time to dry. Given the temperature in Delhi I wouldn’t have been able to complete my paintings in time. I like to work with fast drying mediums like acrylic paints.

Who did you draw your inspiration to become an artist? And what keeps motivating you?
I am fascinated by the real world, of course the artists I have studied about played a huge role in helping me explore my style but I think I still draw inspirations from ‘human libraries’. Every human has a story to tell and that’s what I paint, I paint stories, emotions and everything that is connected to us from within. I am motivated cause I am fighting against mainstream standards. I am a young artist and there are times when I feel lost, but just imagine when I openly talk about issues like body image on my Instagram (page PavsArts) and receive a great response from so many people across the globe, it makes me believe that I am on the right track.

How is a day in your life – morning to evening. How many hours do you devote to art.
I am a very moody painter. My day starts rather late. I wake up around 11am, enjoy some good breakfast at home and leave for my studio for work. There are times I don’t come back home till late at night but sometimes I work for a few hours and come back. There are nights when I sleep in my studio and there are days when I don’t feel like painting so I don’t visit my studio. There is no fixed timing like any 9-5, for me it’s not maths or science, it’s art.

What are your other interests?
Other than painting I love fashion and basketball.

What next?
The sky is the limit. There is a lot to achieve. My art is not limited to canvas paintings, I would love to explore areas that are untouched by me. This is just the beginning, picture abhi poori baaki hai mere dost!

Witness her collection at Booth No. 86, Mumbai Art Fair,
Nehru Centre, Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai



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