Draw what comes to your mind, says an Indian artist

Wellness Thursday 02/January/2020 09:56 AM
By: Times News Service
Draw what comes to your mind, says an Indian artist

Muscat: An Indian artist in Oman who has been continuously practicing art for the last 11 years has said that art is about expressing the thoughts in your mind, and is not necessarily about perfectly-drawn pictures.

Dr Shalini Kumar, whose month-long exhibition at the City Seasons Hotel in Al Khuwair runs until this weekend, and overlapped with another show she organised at the Omani Fine Arts Society, has said that art is about giving voice to the feelings within you.

“My advice to people is this: art is not just about drawing. If for example, you are not comfortable with drawing, just draw what comes to your mind,” she said. “It does not have to be a perfect shape. You can portray things in your own way. But as an artist, you would be better of learning sketching. However, I prefer making art directly with my paintbrush.

“I don’t want to touch a projector,” added Shalini. “To me, art is about creating something meaningful. This exhibition is on until the 3rd of January. Visitors are welcome to see the exhibition until then, and I am glad I have been given these dates, because this is also the tourism season, so more tourists can come and see this work as well. On the day of my opening, a Swedish tourist came and bought a painting. He wrapped up the sale in just one day because he was travelling the next day.”

Before coming to Oman, Dr Shalini Kumar, who has a PhD in economics, lived with her husband in Russia, where she organised several exhibitions and proceeded to donate all of her earnings made from these events, to charitable organisations. However, it was the professor who guided her through her doctorate that encouraged her to continue pursuing art.

“My experiences with art actually began accidentally,” she recalled. “When I was doing my PhD, I also learned oil painting, and it was my teacher who saw my work and said I had a flair for art. I am glad she said it, because it is only when you attempt something that you realise how good you are at it. I then gave it up for a while, but I have been now seriously pursuing art for the past 11 years.

She added: “My husband used to work with Shell, so he used to move from one country to another, so I could not pursue a job as a lecturer, since I have a doctorate in economics. This is why I decided to turn to art. I did my first solo exhibition 11 years ago. At that time, I did mostly fine arts.

“I would first take pictures and then reproduce oil paintings of them,” Shalini said. “But I have since moved to contemporary and acrylic artwork, because truth be told, I do not like to look at a picture and then reproduce it. A lot of people have approached me, asking me to paint their portraits, but for this reason, I have had to refuse them.”

Oman’s natural beauty, she added, made it an artist’s paradise, saying that she would want to continue staying here in future as well.

“Whatever paintings I have done in the past, I have made sure all my proceedings go to charity,” explained Shalini. “When I was in Russia, for example, whatever money I earned in Rubles through my paintings went to a charity run by this Australian couple. But then, I realised that I should maybe not give all my money in the form of charity in an overseas country, because whenever I go home to India, I do charity there as well.

“My parents also do a lot of charity back home in India, so 30 percent of the earnings I receive goes to the Oman Cancer Association, while the rest of it goes to charities in India, where I am involved in sponsoring schools that teach underprivileged people,” she explained.

“Therefore, I believe my art does two things...firstly, it beautifies someone’s home, and secondly, there are people benefiting from its earnings. That is another reason I have kept the prices of my paintings low.”