My oil paintings are as vivid as the world we live in: Shafali R Anand

Delhi based artist, Shafali R Anand is set to present her solo art exhibition ‘Revelations’ from 22nd to 28th of November at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi. A mechanical engineering graduate who did her post-graduation from NIFT Delhi, her works has been published internationally in The American Spectator, The Suit Magazine, Talk Business and Politics, and other publications. Her art is in private collections in India and abroad and has also been acquired by organizations around the globe, including the Clinton Presidential Library at Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. In a candid conversation artist Shafali R Anand gives insights about her works. Excerpts:
Q: After completing graduation in mechanical engineering what inspired you to pursue a career in art?
A: Art, more often than not, isn’t a career but a part of the artist’s soul. I grew up in the extreme reaches of the Himalayas with my sketchbook as my sole companion. I would sit under the pine trees and sketch for hours. Growing up, I wasn’t aware of art as a field of study, and by the time I became aware of it, I had already chalked out my career path. My father was an engineer and being good at Math and Science made me realize that the surest way to get a good job would be to study engineering. A good job meant a lot of things – including the independence to make my own choices in life.
As a young girl, I always believed that we must earn the right to follow our passion. Financial independence was an important goal for me – the goal that led me to study engineering. All those years, my faithful sketchbook never left my side. My first job was in a steel plant – on the shop-floor, and I’d have continued working there, if I my creative energy wouldn’t have felt stifled. So I did my PGDM from NIFT, Delhi, worked in exports – until I arrived in the field of Instructional Design where I discovered the heady combination of creativity and logic.
In 2004, I started out on my own – as an instructional design consultant and as an artist. Internet helped me present my work to art-lovers outside India, and I began receiving art commissions from individuals, organizations, and publications from around the world. In the last fifteen years, I’ve been working tirelessly to create a timeless expression of the emotional continuum, which doesn’t belong to any place and any one person – or in other words, belongs to all of us, everywhere.
Q: What is the significance of the name Revelations?
A: This selection is called Revelations because it comprises some of my most complex works – paintings that conceal layers of emotional connections that are revealed when the viewer dwells upon the paintings to discover the reflection of one’s own experiences in those layers.
My works are born as fully-formed, vividly colored visions. I don’t go looking for inspiration. When the visuals are born in my mind, I serve as their instrument and create their reflection upon the canvas. These works reveal themselves to me – as they reveal themselves to the viewer. This is why this selection of works is called Revelations.
Q. Please give a brief description about your present Art Exhibition at Lalit Kala Academy
A: In this show, I’m presenting about twenty oil paintings and around a dozen pen and ink artworks. The oil paintings range from 2ft x 3ft to 5ft x 6ft in dimensions and the pen and ink drawings are around 1ft x 1.5ft.
My oil paintings are as vivid as the world we live in. My colors aren’t deliberate and so I don’t limit or control when and how they would appear on my canvas. If they appear in my vision, they appear in the painting. The human figure, in my works, is central – because devoid of symbols that anchor it in a place or time and through its twisting turning form, it pulls us in and makes us experience the emotions that define our existence.
As I said earlier, this show also presents a selection of about a dozen of my pen and ink artworks. Pen and Ink is the medium I use when I am outdoors or when I am traveling.
My oil paintings are usually quite big and so they turn me into an atelier painter, but I also like to work outdoors – a throwback to my childhood, I guess. Pen and Ink helps me capture the interactions of my feelings with nature – these works are born of the marriage between the elements of nature and what I see and feel. In contrast to my oil paintings, my pen and ink works use just two colors. The black of the ink and the white of the paper.

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