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Art & Soul

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Soumita Sengupta catches up with artist Vinita Karim who talks about her love for art, what inspires her and how her work transcends boundaries…
Vinita Karim was born in Rangoon, studied in Philippines, lived in Stockholm and has travelled the world. But, she says her art is not defined by boundaries, and this free spirit can be seen through her work. She recently showcased her art at the Museum Art Gallery and got a great response. We catch up with her to find out her take on the Indian art scene, her inspirations and what it is like to be a woman artist in India.
What inspired you to become an artist?
My family has always valued art and culture. My father encouraged me to study art and take it up professionally. I have lived all over the world and feel that art is a universal language through which you can touch people. Through my art I can reach out to people and share my inner vision
and inspirations.
When I first exhibited in Europe, people felt that my work had a very strong Indian element to it. This was right after art school, when I was living in Switzerland. Around the same time, when I exhibited in India, I was told that my work was very European! I realised that my art has been influenced by so many different sources and that’s why it has received different comments.
You’ve travelled the world and chased your dreams. Where all has your art taken you?
An artist internalises a lot of what they see and experience, and it sort of comes out in their work. My works speak of my free spirit as the strokes make their own path and destiny on the canvas, creating images that capture more than just your imagination. The imagery transcends boundaries, mythologies and cultural linkages. My latest series showcases works that made their way onto the canvas in Libya, Turkey, Spain, Morocco, Manila and the Philippines. My idea is to take you through a timeless journey through the canvas into my innerspace.
Tell us about your first painting that received a positive response.
I have been painting since I was 10-years-old. The first painting I ever did was the face of a woman. It was oil on paper and till date, it is one of my most cherished works. The painting marks the start of my career. When my father saw it, he loved it and urged me to pursue art. I joined art school and that moment changed
my life.

Is your art your inspiration?
I wouldn’t say that my art is my inspiration. I would rather say life is my inspiration which makes me want to create works of art.
How would you define your style?
I have always been very free with my style and have experimented with different genres. I’ve evolved from a realistic style to an impressionistic, figurative style. My style is abstract and has elements of landscape. It has the occasional flowers, clouds and telephone towers. My style has also evolved with time as good art can never be constant. Change signifies progress. My compositions have also changed but the underlying thread remains constant.
Do you think women artists are perceived differently?
In India I often come across people who are more supportive of men’s art. When women paint it is seen more as a hobby and not a profession. I think the perception is derogatory and must change for a better future.
Do you believe that art should spread a social message?
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to art spreading a social message as it is truly an artist’s choice. Some do and some don’t. Some are out there to change the societal wrongs and some paint purely for the joy of painting.
Do you want to spread a message through your art?
There may be people who will look at my work and say that it is a protest against the high rise buildings that take away the beauty of nature. But I’m not inclined towards spreading any social message thorough my art. I paint because I want to paint and my art comes from within.
Is there any artist who has left their mark on you?
I love the bright colours and fanciful works of Austrian artist Hundert Wasser, and the feelings and vibes of American artist Rothko.
Has any particular incident been a strong influence on you and your work?
None as such. I do not have any premeditated sketch in my mind. I love a spontaneity with my canvas and I have often been pleasantly surprised with the outcome.


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