“India And Russia In My (He)Art” — Shanti Kushwaha
Qn. How did your tryst with painting begin?
Shanti: I developed my interest for drawing from the preschool age, did not have a teacher, I think my mother was the first to inspire me. She was talented in arts though never studied, she liked to draw and I enjoyed in colouring her drawings. From the school age my drawings were advantageously differing from my classmates. In my childhood I like to dance a lot. I liked to draw the pictures of Indian dancers. Becoming elder I had no art teacher at school age, but I used to study copying the paintings. My first lessons in academic drawing I took under the guidance of Vladimir Tulyakov- member of a Union of artists, Director of the Art school in Ardatov. I completed my education in the College of Fine Arts in the city Nizhny Novgorod under the tutorship of leading artist Yuri Mikhailovich Burov (course in 2005–2010). I also studied at the Faculty of Decorative and Applied Arts in Moscow teacher`s University (2002–2008). My first experience of participating at the exhibition was my solo show in the Diveevo Music School where I had done my music coarse in piano (2000). Since then I had participated in many exhibitions in Russia and India. 2011–2013 holder of a ICCR scholarship doing MFA course in Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata.
The exhibitions —
2005 Regional Christmas exhibition in Nijniy Novgorod.
2006 Regional arts exhibition in Nijniy Novgorod.
2007 Youth exhibition “January vacation”
2008 Regional Christmas exhibition in Nijniy Novgorod
2011 Art exhibition” Inspiration” in RCSC in New Delhi
2011 Personal exhibition” My India” in Russian Cultural centre in New Delhi.
2011 Solo show “Sublime images” in Russian cultural centre in Gorky Sadan, Kolkata
2013 January Group exhibition “Goti” in ICCR, Nanadalal Bose gallery
2013 March “The journey from West to East” solo show in Gorky Sadan
Since 2008 had worked as a professional artist in art studios, and as a drawing teacher. The paintings are in the private collections in Russia, India, France, Sri Lanka, Chili, Ukraine..
Qn. To what extent does Indian culture and tradition influence your work?
Shanti: As I belong to both the countries-India and Russia, the tradition and culture of both the folks remain close to my heart. Yes, I am immensely inspired by the culture, tradition, landscape of India. I am getting inspired with Indian subject. Fascinated by a variety of dance forms of Indian dance, by the large specter of Indian folk costume. Being a student in Russian college of Fine Arts in Nijny Novgorod I did my final, the most important diploma work on the Indian topic. It was a success- series of gouache paintings “My India”.
And the material for this diploma I was gathering in India during my visit in 2010. I remember how eagerly I was searching for Indian people to pose for my works. Now I stay permanently in India, I feel myself fortunate; my dream in painting the Indian subject comes true.
Qn. Is there an underlying message that you are consistently trying to convey with your work, or is each piece different and unique in its own right?
Shanti: Through my works, I want to make people happy, to make them to think about the beauty of daily surroundings. To praise the Lord `s creation realistic in a classical way as it is in life. Yes, each piece carry its own message and feelings. Each work is unique has its own story..
Qn. What major difference do you feel between the Indian art scenes today as compared to that of Russia?
Shanti: The major difference between the recent Indian art and Russian art today. The Russian art carries classical realistic way of painting, though there are also impressionistic, very modern tendencies going hand by hand, the vital part of Russian art is in academic way of painting following the traditions of such great artists as Chistyakov, Brullov, Repin, Kramskoy, Levitan and Serov.
I find the way of modern abstract art to be iconoclastic and breaking the rules.For me the classical way is when the thought for the grand composition artwork is inspired from the life-study.
The Indian way of art is a decorative style of painting.
Qn. You have told that you want to master new styles of painting in India in the near future. If you could elaborate on this?
Shanti: The way I master the new style of painting in India- is the combination of Russian realistic way of painting with the unique national Indian colour. I had absorbed the love for India from my father who is an Indian citizen. And, I want to continue the traditions of such great masters as Zaryanko, Tropinin, Repin, Yaroshenko and Serov. Also, to confirm the link, relationship between the two great cultures, my motherlands after such artists as Semyon Chuykov, Nikolay Roerich and Vasily Vereshchagin.
Qn. Art is said to mould a person’s mind and personality. How has painting helped you?
Shanti: The work of artist is a good tool for expressing the thoughts and feelings. The work of artist helps the personality to be more concentrating, to organize the inner mind, contemplating, and to get joy and happiness in watching the beauty of the surrounding world. And to share this joy with other people.