Artist Mad­huri Bhaduri.

Woman's Era - - Contents - Su­man Ba­j­pai

An ac­com­plished painter, artist, sculp­tor, a bad­minton player, a multi-faceted per­son­al­ity Mad­huri has been fe­lic­i­tated at sev­eral na­tional and in­ter­na­tional fo­rums for her ab­stract, fig­u­ra­tive and inim­itable con­tri­bu­tion to this in­dus­try.

Ex­cerpts from an interview:

You have been in the in­dus­try for four decades now, what are your best me­mories through the jour­ney?

My jour­ney started in 1977 and as an artist, ev­ery day is a new ex­pe­ri­ence and con­trib­utes to the whole jour­ney. I was ex­tremely over­whelmed when my work was ap­pre­ci­ated by the late Mr Jamshed Bhabha and the late Ma­ha­rani Gay­a­tri Devi in my first show at the Je­hangir Art Gallery in 1988. In the year 2008 Mr Vikram Singh a very se­nior and well es­tab­lished celebrity in­te­rior de­signer hosted a pri­vate show at his res­i­dence in Delhi and to my amaze all my works were booked even be­fore I reached the venue. In the year 2009 I was thrilled when Mr S.h.raza agreed to in­au­gu­rate my show. In 2011 the leg­endary Asha Bhos­ale in­au­gu­rated my show in Je­hangir which also marked my 25 years of ex­hibit­ing and 35 years in the field. Be­ing a bad­minton player, how did you get at­tracted to­wards art?

I was al­ways fond of draw­ing and paint­ing and other forms of cre­ative ex­pres­sion from my school days. I did not start out as an artist. Be­ing trained in bad­minton since my child­hood, along with my fa­ther I cher­ished a love for the sport and even went so far as to win three na­tional level ti­tles. Apace with bad­minton, I pur­sued a de­gree in Eco­nom­ics, stud­ied French and took a course in Ho­tel Man­age­ment. But it was much later I de­cided to pur­sue my pas­sion in art and de­sired to be an artist, by un­der­go­ing a for­mal train­ing, a mas­ter's de­gree in art in the year 1988. This is where my jour­ney as an artist be­gan and even­tu­ally my love for art over­pow­ered my pas­sion for sports.

Ini­tially your can­vas was filled with fig­u­ra­tive paint­ings then how you switched from fig­u­ra­tive to the ab­stract mode?

Ex­tend­ing my for­mal study of hu­man fig­ures dur­ing my Mas­ters, I painted nudes and fig­u­ra­tive

through the 1990s af­ter which I felt the urge to move on and cre­ate works that ex­pressed my in­ner feel­ings. I also worked on a se­ries of clown paint­ings - poignant works of painted faces con­ceal­ing pain- that con­veyed my sen­si­tiv­ity to life’s ex­pe­ri­ences, of the ex­i­gency of at times pre­sent­ing a cheer­ful de­meanor to the world, and of mak­ing oth­ers laugh in the most test­ing of times. Yet, draw­ing from the spirit of my fig­u­ra­tive works, I found my true self and ful­fill­ment while cre­at­ing ab­stract com­po­si­tions. Dis­cov­er­ing ab­strac­tion is much deeper than a play of colour or lines. They help you un­der­stand and work out the com­plex­ity of your own emotions.

Af­ter ded­i­cat­ing a ma­jor­ity of your ca­reer to your favourite medium – oil on can­vas, you took to sculpt­ing and cre­at­ing “as­sem­blages” us­ing metal scrap, why did you choose it?

Around 2002 I took to sculp­ture, craft­ing works of scrap metal, sa­vor­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ties of the ex­pres­sion as sculp­ture-un­like paint­ing-of­fers view­ers the joy of view­ing works from all around. If this at­tribute is ex­plored in its en­tirety then it trans­forms sculp­ture into an ob­ject that of­fers con­tin­ual, chang­ing and nev­erend­ing sur­prises and en­gage­ment. To me, sculp­ture is an at­tempt to un­der­stand and re­alise more com­pletely what form and shape are all about. Ev­ery­thing-from scrap metal to el­e­ments of na­ture-can of­fer a start for a new idea. The feel­ing of rein­car­nat­ing old, un­used, life­less ob­jects and cre­at­ing new life in an art form which will live for­ever, is an over­whelm­ing one.

Have you faced any chal­lenges in the jour­ney of art? Es­pe­cially be­ing a wo­man?

The tough­est tribu­la­tion of all was when my hus­band had a pro­longed ill­ness and I had to bring up our son all by my­self. He passed away in 2007 and I was left with no hopes. But amidst all the pes­simism, I backed my­self and re­mained pos­i­tive through­out that dark phase.

This is true that in the past, art was con­sid­ered as a hobby and not prac­ticed as an oc­cu­pa­tion. My fa­ther was not very keen on me pur­su­ing paint­ing as a ca­reer. My mother be­ing an artist her­self boosted my morale to pur­sue paint­ing. For­tu­nately, my paint­ing style was ap­plauded and I had my first show in 1986. The re­sponse was over­whelm­ing; this fur­ther en­cour­aged me to take up art as a pro­fes­sion. Art, which was my pro­fes­sion, be­came a great source of emo­tional sat­is­fac­tion and so­lace.

Your art works have fea­tured in thirty eight solo shows and more than sev­enty six groups’ shows in In­dia and abroad, how do you take suc­cess?

Be­ing in the field of art, an artist has to in­ces­santly work to­wards achiev­ing per­fec­tion. Thusly, I have ac­cli­ma­tized my­self to this work cul­ture. Work has al­ways been my pre­rog­a­tive and an eter­nal part of my ex­is­tence. I could eas­ily adapt to this work­ing style be­cause, I have been trained from a young age to work hard and put in my best foot for­ward, al­ways.

What is the source of your inspiration and ex­pres­sions?

In my for­ma­tive years, I was greatly in­flu­enced by the im­pres­sion­ist painters es­pe­cially Vincent Van Gogh and the ab­strac­tion­ist Paul Klee. My in­tense con­nec­tion with na­ture which gets trans­posed into my ab­stract work is a re­sult of my in­volve­ment with the sub­ject as an artist my ev­ery­day life, trav­els and sur­round­ing in­flu­ences be­come a sub­ject of my work. Be­sides, my grand­mother who lived till the age of 90 was an­other of the in­spi­ra­tions of my life.

What are you cur­rently work­ing on? I am work­ing on a ma­jor solo show in the cap­i­tal, New Delhi where I will be show­cas­ing a large body of paint­ing, sculp­ture and in­stal­la­tions. I have also planned a cou­ple of shows in Europe and Amer­ica in the later part of the year. We

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