Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
This is Swati Joshi Phatak’s first solo painting exhibition. But she is a veteran when it comes to group shows, for she has had 14 group shows so far, at places like India Habitat Centre, All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society and Lalit Kala Academy in Delhi, and Carpe Diem in Goa
Her ongoing solo show, organised and presented by the India International Centre, Delhi, has over 50 works on view, created over a period of two years collectively. This two year period includes the time taken towards packing, moving, shifting, and unpacking that comes with Forces. Swati’s husband is an IAF officer.
Titled CONVERSATION – Rediscover the joy, theme resonates with the artist’s thought process. As she says, “We all are running fast with no time even for ourself. I feel, we are losing the art of being ourselves and are becoming the tools and the parts of some fast-moving system. It is important that we slowdown and learn to converse with our surroundings, fellow human beings, Nature. We need to soothe our souls with meaningful conversations which is beyond information on the fingertips. We need to express ourselves.”
Happy at the response she is getting to her works, she says “Physical shows give artists an opportunity to meet art lovers, and interact with them. The fun of seeing the art right in front of your eyes can not be compared with the digital images no matter how fine the resolution is,” she says.
Born to an archaeologist mother and architect father in Lucknow, Swati did her school and college from Indore, studying pure sciences. So, how did a science graduate, a diploma in computers and an MBA from Symbiosis Pune migrate towards arts, one wonders.
“Both my parents being into creative fields themselves, never stopped us kids from following our hearts. I chose to study science and computers as that did fascinate me back then,” she says.
“As regards arts, I was always inclined towards arts. Growing up in Indore, I used to perform in plays on the All India Radio, Indore while fine arts I used to do in my leisure time. Later, in early 2010s, I participated in a painting workshop at the India Habitat Centre. It was conducted by artist Rohit Sharma, and this was where I got to display my work for the first time and my journey as a visual artist began,” she informs.
“The fact that my husband, who has keen interest in varied fields, encouraged me to keep working in which ever capacity I could was a great boost to my creative skills. While moving every two to three years from one part of the country to the other, I could not have a stable career, but travelling and living at different places nourished my soul,” she says.
So there are times when Swati indulges in her art for hours on end. “And, there are times when I get up in the middle of the night and start painting,” she smiles.
Swati enjoys working in acrylic as well as dry medium like pastels and pencil. “Acrylic gives me scope for creating textures and experiment with colours. And pencils/pastels allow one to put imagination quickly on paper,” she avers. As for the kind of paintings, landscapes or portraits, she says she likes doing all kinds. “Though I had started with Nature and portraits, today I equally enjoy all kinds. I would not like to categorise my works,” she says.
Talking about what impacts her in the works of other artists, she says, “I like the artworks of all those artists who have stories to tell. Or thoughts to present, whose artworks make you either ponder or wonder. There are many artists whose artworks intrigue the viewers. Those need not be very fine and perfect but displays the artist’s thought process.”
Adding further she says. “I recently come across the works of Sharad Tarde and I love the preciseness of his abstract works which is beautifully balanced. Another artist whose works I found inspiring is Subodh Kerkar – it is impressive how he uses a wide range of mediums.”
But Swati is not an artist/e alone. She is also a poet and a writer. She recently published a book of stories Anaya. “I am very sensitive to the surroundings and tend to observe and analyse things around me. What you see on my canvas and in my books is what I feel strongly about. It’s my thoughts that are reflected on canvas and pages.
“One must keep working – learning and exploring without hesitation,” she says, adding the new and fresh ideas that you bring on the canvas defines you as an artist. Skill has to be practiced but it is original thinking that sets one apart.”
The exhibition is on view till September 15, 11am to 7pm daily