The pursuit of happiness comes at a cost that the environment pays for every minute. The more we want, the more it gives but not without a sacrifice. Nature has always had advocates, but allowing it a turn to speak, artist Roohi Kapoor has created works where tigers, giraffes, elephants and horses, share their perspective of the trappings of materialism.
The animals in it march to the tune of an urban jungle song. In a light-hearted spirit, Kapoor has spoken of a serious matter that is born out of extreme consumerism. “At the outset, these are playful and fun paintings depicting animals in their natural habitat. Look closely and you’ll see each with an accessory. They talk of how over-consumption leads to doom.” she says.
The elephant is seen strolling with earphones. The lion makes himself comfortable on a pillow. A giraffe ambles about wearing sneakers. The swan is skateboarding, among others. “I wonder if we have taken the human fixation for material acquisitions too far, even into the animal species, so much so that they also seem to be spellbound by these so called human indulgences,” says Kapoor.
She was born in Hamburg, Germany. Her family moved to Delhi when she was five. Her earliest memories are of painting on the walls of her driveway. When at school, she would spend most of her time in the art room. She remembers painting peacocks, birds, floral landscapes on the expanse of the wall. She has vivid memories of travelling with her parents where they would visit museums and exhibitions. “My parents enjoy and appreciate art and are art collectors, and with new works constantly coming in, the accessibility and exposure was also a huge influence. Additionally, a good friend of my mom is a watercolourist. I’ve been seeing her work for inspiration,” says the artist.
Besides family, the list of people who have inspired her is long. JW Turner is one of them. It’s his emotional brush strokes, play of light, colour and distance that brings her closer to his sensibilities. Henri Matisse is another. The fluidity present in his works are stimulating. Then there are others like Sandro Botticelli, Salvador Dali, Laxma Goud and others. Alex Grey is one who she’s most mesmerised with.
Kapoor considers herself a free-spirited artist who despises people who box her. “I cringe everytime somebody tries to slot me. I paint depending upon how I feel and what inspires me at the time. I follow my heart in deciding whether to drip the paint or just throw blobs of different colours on the canvas and then shape it into a form,” she says.
It’s as simple and spontaneous as that. And equally joyfull too, for her.
March 8-9 and 11-12, from 10.30 am to 6.30 pm, Bikaner House, India Gate.