Art and International Relations rarely go together. Fortunately, these two diverse subjects are well ingrained in Shafali Anand, a Noida-based engineer-turned-painter. Shafali, who intently follows diplomatic initiatives of Bharat, is confident that the growing Indo-French ties, due to the diplomatic skills of PM Shri Narendra Modi, will help in bolstering cultural ties between the two nations.
“Under PM Modiji’s leadership, India has evolved into a cultural as well as manufacturing and services destination for the world. It all began when the PM spoke of the service to humanity and human values that France-India relations have rendered successfully over the years. He expressed confidence that relations will go forward even further. I believe that the statement meant that the French people and the Indians should establish a friendly and symbiotic relationship through trade, cultural and educational exchange, and general bonhomie.”
Creating A Bridge Between Diverse Cultures
Speaking to the Organiser Weekly, Shafali foresees a jugalbandi (collaboration) between Indian and French artists as contemporary art in both countries share a lot in terms of painting techniques. “Even though our motifs and symbols may be different from those used by French yet artists around the world speak the same language of brushstrokes and colours. Historically too, both France and India have had a rich tradition of art and we have a lot to share and learn from one another. I think it would be wonderful if there would be such jugalbandis in future.”
To give a push to the cultural bonhomie between India and France, Shafali Anand, a Noida-based engineer-turned-painter, has now created a melange of art works that will be on display for four days at Alliance Francaise de Delhi at Lodi Estate beginning September 16.
Titled “Turbulence”, Shafali’s collection took five years to complete. The artist has deliberately titled her collection with a word that urban dwellers are experiencing frequently as she has learnt a lot through her own life’s journey which was painful at one time but she wants to keep it under wraps.
“Only when a person experiences turbulence can he/she feel art blossoming inside. I have faced turbulence and poured out my feelings.”
To express her emotions, inner turmoil and how she visualises her art through oil painting and pen and ink art, Shafali says while she considers oil painting to be the medium through which her soul speaks, the medium of pen and ink enables her to capture her thoughts with the world around her. “My oil paintings, devoid of symbols that can anchor them in a time or place, tie us all through a single thread of emotions that we feel,” said the artist, who studied at NIFT in Delhi but later realised that it was art which gave her creative satisfaction.
Shafali believes that though physically we exist in a world outside us, we construct our own little worlds within—and these worlds make us twist and turn, smile and cry, break and regenerate, die and come alive.
She uses a mix of broad and long strokes to allow the emotions to flow, and the colours for their symbolic power. Her pen and ink drawings are born when she finds the symbols of human existence mingling with nature.
Under PM Modiji’s leadership, India has evolved into a cultural as well as manufacturing and services destination for the world. It all began when the PM spoke of the service to humanity and human values that France-India relations have rendered successfully over the years. He expressed confidence that relations will go forward even further
For budding art lovers in the Capital, Shafali is displaying about thirty oil paintings and a dozen pen and ink works. The paintings range from 2 ft x 3 ft to 5 ft x 6 ft in size, while the pen and ink works are around 1 ft x 1.5 ft (a few are larger and smaller.) On September 17th, the artist will also be delivering a talk on “How French Artists changed the Course of Art History,” at Galerie Romain Rolland.
Learning French Art
Interestingly, French artists have inspired this self-taught artist over the years. She feels it has been her pleasure and privilege to study the works of the French Masters.
Oil portraits of French greats like Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, and Henri Matisse will be a pride of place at the institution specialising in French language teaching. These portraits, 2 ft x 2.5 ft in dimensions, capture not just their faces but their lives, ambitions, revolts, and frustrations.
“I am a great admirer of the works of the French artists who became the pioneers of modern art and changed the definition of art. Among those I regard the most are Degas, Monet, Cézanne, and Matisse. These four artists risked everything to break the existing rules and to augment and change the definition of art. Their artistic legacy confirms my artistic convictions and gives me the courage to stay true to my art.”
Shafali has been smitten by the grace and animation of Edgar Degas’ works. She discovered heartache, poignancy, deliberation, and a quest for perfection in Claude Monet’s impressionist paintings. “I’ve experienced shock and awe as I was hit by the colorfulness of Matisse’s expression, and I’ve struggled under the pent up stress of Paul Cézanne’s careful but bold strokes.”