BENGALURU: Rekha Chitrakumar started sharing her thoughts through her drawings even as a child. If anything upset her, she would draw animals, says Neeladevi, her mother.
She has painted over 50 traditional Mysuru paintings and over 200 water and oil paintings. Her recent exhibition of jasmine art held at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath takes inspiration from the widespread use of flowers in Indian culture. Unlike the West, it’s used for every occasion here.
But the artist worries that this may be a dying tradition. So, in an attempt to revive it, she drew paintings and portraits set in familiar settings.
While Rekha is moved by the customs of the country, she questions some of them. One of her paintings show women in half-saris wearing jasmine flowers in their hair and bending forward submissively, suggestive of mute animal docility. Rekha implies that women used to be meek in the olden days and had to adjust to everyone and everything. She respects traditions but says that women should also have the freedom to speak and express without fear.
Rekha knows something about beating the odds. Born deaf, Rekha learnt English in her Chennai school through lip movements. It was a challenging task since lip reading of some words could be confusing -- like ‘hour’, says her mother. In spite of it all, she is an independent woman who loves to read and is well versed with the computers.
She was working for a bank as a data entry operator till she now took voluntary retirement. Now she devotes her time to painting. “Art is everything for her. Though she can speak, she expresses all that she has to say through her paintings,” says Neeladevi.
Her paintings have been exhibited at several exhibitions. She has won national-level competitions and her paintings have been featured in the annual magazine of the bank in which she was working.
She studied Diploma in fine arts at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath under a merit scholarship from Lalit Kala Akademi. She is also a life member of Chitrakala Parishath.
Her family has been a great support system. She is settled in Boston, with her husband and daughter.
- While Rekha is moved by the customs of the country, she questions some of them
- Rekha knows something about beating the odds. Born deaf, Rekha learnt English in her Chennai school through lip movements