Sangeetha Kadur always wanted a career centered around wildlife. She picked wildlife art and activism, almost involuntarily.
Her childhood holidays were always spent in farmhouses and natural parks. “I spent a lot of time in Bandipur and Nagarhole reserves, where I grew fascinated with the wildlife. I am an outdoors person and I am in my element there,” she says.
Her backyard in her Bengaluru house is home to pet squirrels, fishes and rabbits. She was also encouraged by her brother who is a wildlife filmmaker to create wildlife art.
While studying in Chitra Kala Parishath, she learned more abstract art and was discouraged from focusing. She learned different mediums, but was quite unsure about which path to take down. “I am into realistic art, which brings out deep and intense emotions,” she said.
Once, when she was at Bandipur, she saw a mural of a leopard, which was so lifelike, it inspired her to make the jump.
She realised she liked painting birds after she joined the bird watchers club, who meet frequently.
Her process involves the keeping of a field journal, where she records observations and details from the wild, which is later translated onto the canvas. “The intensity of focus required to first imitate and then recreate something with my lines and strokes is constantly challenging and yet immensely gratifying,” she said,
The most complex illustration by her is of a Hornbill in its natural nesting environment. “With art we can consolidate and disseminate information. I make sure the artwork is scientifically correct, at the same time, it has an aesthetic appeal,“ she said.
One of her accomplishments is a compilation of hummingbirds for the US-based Gorgas Science Foundation. The 220-page coffee table book took five years to complete and is currently waiting for funding to be published. She is one of the three artists who put together illustrations of male and female birds, the kind of habitats they live in and the plants they feed on. “Hummingbirds are the second largest bird population in the world. 127 varieties of which are in India and are the most unique creatures,” she said.
At a recent TedX talk in CMR College, she spoke about her unconventional career path. She travels by herself for the job to remote places. “I come back and read about my sightings, which I include with my illustrations.”
Butterflies and moths are fascinating to her as they are small colorful creatures. “Drawing the illustrations for the butterfly park in Wipro’s Electronic city’s campus goes to show that wildlife art has demand. I was soon invited to do the same for Sanjay Gandhi National Park,” she says.
With art we can consolidate and disseminate information. I make sure the artwork is scientifically correct, at the same time, it has an aesthetic appeal