CHENNAI: Eyes shut, peace and tranquility writ large on the face. There’s a certain inexplicable comfort looking at the figures of women painted in red and blue amid lotuses. “I’m happy when people find my paintings peaceful. Everyone’s so busy with their own things, there’s chaos all around. I try to bring some peace onto the canvas,” says artist Manisha Raju, whose works are on display at Gallery Veda for the next few months.
Belonging to a family that gave priority to education, Manisha never thought she’d ever become an artist even though it had been her passion since childhood. “As a kid, I remember whenever people asked me what I wanted to become, I’d say ‘painter’! Honestly, it’s a miracle that I am one even now,” she says.
While in college, Manisha shelved her passion and went on to pursue a PhD in management. Soon enough, she took up a teaching job in college. “I like teaching; it interests me a lot. But it’s not painting. I wasn’t completely devoting my time to it when I had a full-time job.” Eventually Manisha went ahead and took the plunge. Thus began her tryst with art, again.
Currently an artist at Cholamandal Village, ECR, her works include working with watercolours, pastels and acrylics. “My comfort level is such that I can work with anything now. I feel that we are burdened with a lot of work and losing connection. We are in that whole rush of life. So I try to work on self-interaction, which is one of the reasons why all the figures in my paintings have their eyes closed,” she elaborates.
The colours she chooses are fairly vocal. Interestingly, they aren’t deliberate. “I don’t plan on the colour or the figure I want to draw. It always starts with a thought and I simply go along with it,” she says. Using the metaphor of a lotus in a pond to life, a lot of her paintings feature the flower lazily floating around. “I happened to notice a lotus once and while all others saw the flower as is, I interpreted it differently.
I noticed the peals of water on the petals, or the lack of it and I related it to everyday life,” she shares.
As an artist now, she’s more than happy with the little differences she makes to viewers. With constructive criticisms from her husband, artist Raju Durshettiwar, Manisha looks to paint more with his support. “I look up to him and his works. He has his own style, he likes colours. I like figures. We’re different but he supports me nonetheless. That’s all that matters,” she smiles.
On display at Gallery Veda, Shilpa Architects’ The Muse at Taramani for a few months. For details, call: 99404 91840