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Art is a reflection of your personality: Kavita Jaiswal
After painting for last 30 years, Kavita Jaiswal, a Gurgaon-based artist, has decided to share her experience and learning with other artists. She is approaching artists who have forgotten their dreams, creativity and passion to paint under various pressures. For last few years, she has been organising Fine Art workshops at Gurgaon's Epicentre, and inviting people from different fields to fulfill their incomplete dreams.

Every Saturday morning, you will find her with some students brushing their dreams and venting out their real feelings on canvas. In an exclusive interview with this citizen journalist , Jaiswal, who was recently honoured with Lalit Kala Academy Life Time Achievement Award in Fine Arts, shared her journey as an artist and what she thinks about the Millennium City.

What is your workshop all about?

This is a fine art workshop where people from other walks of life come and spend their morning with paint and canvas and drawings. So this was the concept of the workshop when started and we selected a Saturday morning because most of the offices are closed on weekends, and there are people who would like to do something else other than their routine work so some of them like to get into painting. So this workshop will go on throughout the year at Epicentre every Saturday morning from 10:30 to 1pm.

How do you approach your students and how do you identify their skills?

I take every student as an individual. I try to develop each person's work individually in a way. Although they do paint in a group so there is an interaction also. And everybody is happy in class which is in open area sitting with nature and painting whatever they want to. I start classes initially with sketching then move to variations like texture, drawing, proportions. While doing that I introduce to them a little bit of colour and then get them into composition.

I prefer that most of them do their own images. To achieve this, I take them into photography also so that they can capture the image and can work on their own composition rather than copying from somewhere. Copying is something which I discourage completely because I am a painter myself and I have developed my own language of painting so I would like them also to explore theirs and explore their own language. This makes this workshop more exciting as they are not dependent on somebody else's thought process and they are working on their own image.

How did you include photography in the art of painting?

Photography is just a part of my teaching process. I don't do photography as a workshop. It is just a way to learn how to make a composition and how to capture an image in a surrounding and then convert them into a painting. Then students work on their own image as they don't go and sit in front of something and sketch all the time. Students go out and take pictures of what they like on road and bring it to a class and draw.

How long have you been conducting this workshop?

I have been conducting this workshop for almost 20 years now. I started with the National Gallery of The Modern Art and have held workshops of kids earlier. Later, I moved to India Habitat Centre, there also I took similar kinds of workshops for five years and now I am associated with Epicentre.

Is there any difference between learners and seekers from Delhi and Gurgaon as you have worked at both places?

No! Not at all. They are as enthusiastic at both places. But I must say Gurgaon is a younger city. Many people from Delhi have shifted to Gurgaon and they want something close by. People from the age group of 25 to 65 come to me and want to learn painting. It’s a lovely group of like-minded people. Professionals like doctors, lawyers, writers, musicians etc., most of the times women and once in a while men come to the workshop from Gurgaon.

Have you also approached any Gurgaon schools to attract students for the workshop?

Epicentre does approach. I don't know whether they approach any particular schools but they do advertise in newspapers and on websites. I have been teaching for so many years so people know me and therefore approach me.

Do you organise your own exhibitions?

Yes, I do. I had a solo exhibition last year at the Art Concert, and I have also exhibited on the national and international level.

How would you compare artists around the world with Indian artists?

If you talk about young artists, they have a huge amount of global thinking because of the Internet and lots of exposure. They travel around the world and attend many exchange programmes, globally. So the boundaries have become very wide and world has become smaller. Art can be likened to cross pollination. So these days many a time young artists can't really say that this is purely an Indian Art. Whereas, 30 years ago there was no such scenario so we as students developed our own visionary language and style.

If you see the work of artists like MF Hussain and SH Raza, you can make out that this is their work, whereas now there is a big difference. We were more rooted in our traditions during those times. Art is a reflection of your personality. Indian art in international circles is known as “Art of Soul” and people outside feel that Indian artists paint from soul and skill rather than just exploring material because our society is still not that materialistic. You can see that reflected in the work. It has emotions and sensibility while international art is very material-based.

In a span of 30 years, how have you changed your style of art?

The imagery has matured and changed over a period of time. I got into abstraction 20 years ago. Before that I was just exploring like a budding painter. I left behind a recognisable image and came into the essence of real, which is abstraction. Abstraction doesn’t start at the beginning, it comes much later in life when you really get into the core of the feeling, and you can express that feeling.

Where do you see your career as an artist today?

Today, I see myself as a mid-career artist and I am also exploring the new media like video art, digital photography and trying to learn with the time like youngsters.

Where do you see Gurgaon in next 10 years in the field of art?

Gurgaon have very hardworking people. They are full of life and energy and want to explore more and more about themselves. I expect lot of progress in next 10 years. And India is going to shine through Gurgaon at international level.

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