Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
Born & brought up in Delhi, artist Sonali Durga Chaudhari was hugely inspired by her maternal grandmother Gouri Kanjilal, who was also her guide when it came to art. “Nani was an accomplished artist herself, she was my first Art Guru. This show is dedicated to her memory,” says Sonali. Later, she studied at the prestigious College of Art Delhi, wherein her teachers were some of the renowned artist like Niren Sengupta, Dhiraj Choudhury, Kanchan Chander etc.
By her own admission, she is person who goes with the flow of life – when working on a painting, she remains within her Greater Kailash studio for hours at a stretch, and when travelling gets totally immersed in the location she is at. “I enjoy every moment of my life, each day is new and different for me,” she says.
Swarna Dhara, a solo show of her paintings inspired by the Ganga is a tribute to the strength and beauty of Nature, portraying the untamed power of the natural world. Done with acrylic on canvas, these artworks highlight the transformation of the human spirit from bondage to freedom, darkness to light and from the depths of despair to the pinnacle of bliss. Excerpts from an interview:
When did you plan this show? Have you travelled through the course of river Ganga or these works are from your imagination and books you may have read.
I started conceptualising this show about two years back. My extensive travels in the Himalayan and upper Gangetic belt not only rejuvenate my spirit but provide me with inspiration. I have seen the river Ganges from her source to the Bay of Bengal where she merges with the sea. Water is a very powerful element, cleaving its way through mountains, smoothening rocks along the way. Rivers and mountains inspire my soul to overcome obstacles and reach greater heights.
Why did you choose Ganga to express your creativity? What attracts you to this river, and why
Rivers are givers of life. All major civilisations have been found alongside mighty rivers, from the Nile in Egypt to the Ganga in India. The river Ganga is also highly venerated in Indian civilisation and given the status of a Goddess. Somehow, since I was a child, I have always had this strong bond with the Ganga and the Himalayas.
What explains your love for the Himalayas? Have you visited Himalayan ranges?
Some things have no plausible explanation I feel. Why do we love someone or something? Can we always explain it? I think not. This is a connect I feel deeply & whenever I feel the need to rejuvenate myself, I head on solo strips of the mighty Himalayas. The towering snow capped peaks give my heart solace & help me leave the mundane behind.
Do you plan to take this show to other cities. If yes, which all
The first show in this series was held at Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai, in September this year. I do plan to explore this theme more. I may take it abroad too.
Which medium do you prefer, and why?
I work mostly with Acrylic paint on canvas or board. It is a versatile medium which dries fast & is very long lasting. Since I use a lot of texture using thick layers of paint, it suits my purposes.
A full-time artist is not an easy vocation…
I feel every vocation has its pros & cons. True, we artists may not have a fixed sum coming in every month but we are free. As long as we put in the effort and are recognised by the right people, it’s a wonderful field to be in. But yes, it takes a lot of dedication & work. But I feel that is true for success in any field.
Your take on online art exhibitions?
I’m not really a huge fan of online exhibitions. No photograph can do full justice to a piece of art in front of you. It’s like seeing the Mona Lisa on your computer & seeing it at the Louvre in Paris. There’s a huge difference!
How has art scene changed over the years – since you began professionally. How do you find Delhi as a city for artists.
The art scene is Delhi has certainly grown over the years. There are so many galleries now that it’s hard to count. In my childhood, there were just a few.
The show is on till November 24 (11am to 7pm) at Arpana CaurFine Art Gallery,
Siri Fort Institutional Area, New Delhi