Poet. Linguist. Artist. All these words describe Puneeta Khatri who recently held an exhibition of her paintings titled In the footsteps of Buddha. Puneeta says that the main aim of this exhibition is to use 'warm soulful colours' to recollect Buddha’s images and
teachings. On entering the exhibition arena, one could observe that tucked away on the first floor was a set of narrow, unassuming corridors. Soft Tibetan music played in the background and incense guided everyone through the exhibition. It truly was a calm, peaceful environment to appreciate her work.
Puneeta straddles the space between abstract and realist art, creating a world of enlightenment and peace that is currently out of reach, but perhaps attainable in the future. Her Painting “The Path” uses a wide spectrum of reds and yellows to convey Buddha’s path to Nirvana. As the Buddha travels into the distance of the painting he moves through increasingly light circles. The circles represent the cycles of life and death that can only be escaped once you free yourself from greed and suffering, explained Puneeta. Enlightenment comes gradually through small lifestyle and outlook changes.Everyone was encouraged to work out the rest of the exhibition ourselves, resonating with the importance Buddhism places on learning and self-development.
She uses the same colour combinations as The Path with deep, complex reds sitting alongside cool yellows. This is no coincidence as for Puneeta red is the colour of life and vitality. Underneath the painting lay a riddle; “your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy”. Trying to understand these tongue twisters helped shed further light on the exhibition as Puneeta uses both literature and art to translate her inner "visions and thoughts into reality".
Leaving the exhibition and entering burgeoning Bangalore felt juxtaposed. Within the hustle and bustle of city life, Puneeta created a space of serenity and balance. Powerful messages were contained within the exhibition, and in the footsteps of Buddha was a demonstration of Puneeta’s expert grasp of literature and art.