Sewing Colourful Dreams
Recipient of the recently announced Manjeet Bawa scholarship initiated by Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi, printmaker Rajinder Kaur talks about looking ahead despite all odds.
It has been a long way for Rajinder Kaur, recipient of the Manjit Bawa Scholarship for printmaking, announced by Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi in July this year. This 26-year-old Masters in Fine Arts graduate (2015) from Government College of Arts, Chandigarh, whose work My Mother’s Journey got her the scholarship, says that the work was created for the woman who sewed clothes for neighbours to pay her tuition fee. “And she never insisted that I should join a course that offers some kind of financial security. All her life, she wanted me to follow my heart,” says Kaur, whose father works in a spare parts factory in Zirakpur, Punjab, where they stay. The young artist, who saw an art gallery and museum for the first time in her life when she joined the art college says that ever since she was a child, she interpreted her different moods through colours. “My mother found that very interesting and got me crayons. In class V, a young man who lived in the neighbourhood told me about art schools.
Ever since that time, I was sure that I wanted to join one,” says Kaur, who made it a point to wear only the clothes stitched by her mother to college. “Well, I would show her all latest designs in fashion magazines. She would do her best to make me something similar,” she says.
Stressing that financial background and an “artistic environment” at home does not really matter when one is committed to excellence, Kaur dreams of having her own studio one day.
Lamenting the dearth of people willing to spend money on art in Punjab, Kaur, whose works were bought by artist Arpana Caur, hopes to have some exhibitions in Delhi in the months to come. “Let’s admit it, when it comes to buyers, there's just no comparison to the metro cities,” says the artist. Talk to her about the scholarships and grants offered by the state government and she is quick to interject that though there might be a lot of talk about the cultural richness of Punjab, but the same seldom translates to reality.
Insisting that it is not really discipline but insomnia that brings out the best in her, the artist says that she not really thought about her ‘method’. “Well, all I can say is that I work at night and the darkness is mostly kind to my colours,” she says.