CHENNAI: One day it was raining very heavily and I was sitting in my room just looking out my window. It was very calming to observe the elements of nature. A construction nearby created a puddle of water.
The rain drops created a pattern and I was immediately inspired to replicate it on paper.”
That is how Ahmedabad-based artist Shalu Juneja was determined to create a series replicating the textures of earth on her canvas.
Eventually, naming the series Earth Stories which is now ready for a solo show in Chennai on July 1.
The paintings which were initially ink sketches on paper were done using a Japanese brush painting technique called sumi-e.
“After replicating the puddle in ink on the paper, I saw that after some time the water dissolved into the soil and I got ambitious and decided to replicate that as well. I took bleach and added a few drops to the ink and it created a similar pattern. After this incident I decided to experiment with different textures of the earth on a canvas,” Shalu says.
Talking about the theme of her paintings, she says, “I’m interested in the essence of earth and every life in it. Initially, my paintings were mainly woman-centric and elaborately explored motherhood. Earth Stories blends both of my interests. When I see the earth, I’m reminded of the way a woman is. Just like how the earth needs to be looked after and revered, so does a woman for having the power of giving life to another being.”
Among the series, her painting Sasti Duayein (Cheap blessings), is rather intriguing and striking at first glimpse. On asking what the painting is about she chuckles and says, “I was on a trip in Shimla when I saw a sadhu blessing people for ten rupees. It was quite ironic and had stayed in my mind.”
Talking about what she expects from the show in Chennai, she says, “I expect people to see the figurative and abstract artist in me since I believe not every piece of art has to be representational. The process to make them was fun and like meditation for me. I hope for people to understand the textures and derive their own message from the patterns and have fun.”