Minisha Bhardwaj beside one of her artworks.
Minisha Bhardwaj says she tries to capture the “dynamic, awe-inspiring vistas of human emotions” by bringing her subjects to life with contrasting colours and bold compositions.
She has developed her own visual vocabulary and individual style — with the dominance of black colour — and urges viewers to see the world as a magical, fluid and invigorating panorama of visuals.
She puts it this way: “I am a story teller and I welcome you to join me on this visual journey.” She has been awarded by Clyde & Co, a prominent law firm also dedicated to promoting excellence in the profession of fine art, and has been featured in various prestigious art books. Her works are held in many private art collections in India, the UAE and Italy. She has also worked on commission.
Realism and ZeeArts community, Dubai, are two of her art pillars. If she is a practitioner of the former school of art, it was the latter that discovered and platformed her art skills. Realism in the arts — of which you may get an idea from Bhardwaj’s pictures — is generally the attempt to represent subject matter truthfully, without artificiality, avoiding speculative and supernatural elements.
It often refers to a specific art historical movement that originated in France in the aftermath of the French Revolution of 1848 and was motivated by a renewed interest in the common man. The Realist movement, which began to make an impact in the mid-19th century, was a reaction to Romanticism and History painting. In favour of depictions of ‘real’ life, Realist painters used ordinary people in ordinary surroundings engaged in real activities, as subjects for their works.
ZeeArts, as its Founder Zaahirah Muthy points out, “is a global art incubator nestled in Dubai with a branch in Mauritius. Its mission is to Connect, Collaborate and Celebrate the arts through its line-up of artistic initiatives and projects.” She hails from Mauritius and is an artist, activist and curator. Minisha Bhardwaj embarks on a visual journey with Gulf Today, through her answers
Why do you like realism?
Realism offers artists a starting point from which they can launch themselves into an infinite number of artistic styles. When you understand to faithfully render what is in front of you in a way that expresses the reality of that object, you can begin to bend and shift the reality into something more abstract.
As a self-taught artist, what are the essentials you took care of as artmaker?
To my mind Art is a passion and all you need is the desire for it. And a lot of hard work. Plus observation, interpretation, composition … it is the hand you have to train. Self-taught artists have a tough but rewarding road ahead. You will not have the structure or guidance provided by a top art school. But you will have the freedom to learn, how you please. If you are disciplined, then you can achieve anything as a self-taught artist that a trained artist can achieve. In fact, formal art training perhaps can be restrictive. There are artists who may be better suited for the self-taught path.
Why do you like bright colours?
Colours reflect inner emotions of an artist and hence the choice.
What did your life in the UAE – you lived here for nearly 15 years — teach you as an artist?
My tenure in Dubai taught me few amazing lessons. First, that dedication is the key. If you are totally dedicated to your art and maintain absolutely consistency, there’s nothing that can stop you from realising your dreams. Second, to give your art a purpose, to do whatever you can to add value to society, spread awareness, share your art for good cause and be an artist-activist and try to bring a change.Third, to always believe in uplifting and supporting fellow artists.
Did you belong to any art group in the Emirates? Who were your friends in the art world here?
Yes, I was a part of ZeeArts community. That’s where I got introduced to myself and my potential.
Is it correct to say you painted more Indian themes in the UAE than Middle East ones? If so, why was it so?
No, rather I painted more Arabic themes ... My art relies on observation and feelings.
You are doing art projects in India. Can you give us some details?
Yes, I have done many art projects and art events in India ... I’ve designed the walls of farmhouses, amphitheatres, hotels and terraces, coffee joints … Held many back to back events during lockdown too, where I got sponsored by many brands ... It was vastly covered by the media.
How will you compare and contrast the art ecology in India and the UAE?
Art and artists are same in any part of the world. Good art will attract art appreciation and collectors.
If you could/when you come back to the UAE, what will you do differently as an artist?
If I get a chance to be back in the UAE, the only change I’ll like to bring is giving my art a good cause.
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