Journey of a reluctant artist from obscurity to the limelight - GulfToday

Journey of a reluctant artist from obscurity to the limelight


Sushma Jain poses in Dubai during the exhibition.

Raghib Hassan, Staff Reporter

The recently concluded World Art Dubai 2019 saw the convergence of beautiful and creative minds from across the world on the Dubai World Trade Centre, from April 3-6. Artists from the world over exhibited their creativity at the four-day event. They all exchanged ideas, appreciated fellow artists and hugged each other with a promise to return again next year.

One noticeable artist who came all the way from Mumbai, India, to show her creations was Sushma Jain. Sushma is an Indian wildlife and landscape artist whose work focuses on sensitising the viewers to the importance of wildlife protection and conservation.

Sushma is a passionate artist, who has been doing artworks since her childhood, but had never ever thought that she would be exhibiting her creations to the public. Her creativity all these years centred around gracing the drawing room of her farmhouse and her art was only known to her family members, until last year.

When asked how she agreed to show her works to the public, she told Gulf Today, “It was my daughter who forced me to come out of my shell and she only encouraged me to show my artworks of all these years to the public. I always tell it was my daughter who guided me follow this path, else I was quietly content with my creativity behind the boundary walls of my farmhouse.”

She added, “Actually, on my 60th birthday my daughter asked me to do something special to make the day very special. So, she organised my first solo exhibition, ‘A Tale Untold’ in Mumbai. It was a collection of 34 paintings, which I had completed in 30 years. To my surprise, it was a sold-out show. Before the show, not many people knew that I could paint also.”


Memories Triggered (oil on canvas).


When asked why she did not show her work to the people, she replied, “My husband was reluctant to show my work to the public. He would always say, let it be a private affair and we should keep in inside the house.”

Did he feel a change in her life after her debut solo show? She said, “After the unprecedented success of my solo show, I feel motivated. I am enjoying this attention and appreciation. Now I want to paint more and more.»

When asked when she realised there was an artist in her, she replied, “I would draw in schools but I did not realise that I have a talent that people would appreciate me as an artist. It was my father who always encouraged me a lot.”

To reinforce her talent, she completed a foundation course at the Indian Art Institute, the Art Teacher›s Diploma at JJ School of Art and underwent a course at the Central Saint Martin School of Art and Design in London.

Crossing Boundaries (oil on canvas).

When asked how she managed to keep her craft alive by being in the house, she said, “My passion for drawing and painting continued even after my marriage. My husband and in-laws always encouraged and appreciated me. It would not have been possible without their support.”

Asked why she chose to focus on Indian wildlife and landscape, she said, “I am close to animals. I defend them. I love nature as well.”

Inside the Silence (oil on canvas).

Featuring more than 3,000 pieces from around the globe, World Art Dubai 2019 united more than 150 galleries and artists from 30 countries, each with their own unique take on art. From emerging Emirati artists, pop-art icons and fashion art disrupters to experimental expressionists and fine art and photography practitioners, this year’s exhibition was an eclectic melting pot of artistic styles. A frequent visitor to Dubai, she is all praise for World Art Dubai, “I enjoyed my time at World Art Dubai. People from different nationalities visited and appreciated my work. It was an amazing experience. It is a wonderful platform.”

Praising the city, she said, “Dubai is very interesting. I feel at home here, I am a frequent visitor to Dubai. That’s why I thought of coming with my works this time to exhibit. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone too.” When asked which is her favourite city in India, the landscape artist homed in on her hometown Mumbai. “I have been to Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India, of late and I liked it very much. Kashmir too is very interesting,” she added. Sushma loves music. She is a trained singer. Talking about her passion for singing, she said, “I am a trained singer and music is my second passion after painting.”

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