New Zealand-based Pavithra Devadutta's works, Kalanz, are a swirl of colours that capture the mood of music and dance

Ever wonder how Jimi Hendrix felt while playing those mellifluous notes on his guitar, lost in the act of creation or how Micheal Jackson felt when he did one of those moonwalks? New Zealand-based Pavithra's Devadutta's works “Kalanz”, displayed at the Leela Galleria, are a whirl of passionate red, blue and orange that so vividly and smoothly capture the passion, ecstasy and movement of music and dance.

Inspired by the musicians performing in local jazz and tango festivals, mainly buskers performing on the street, Pavithra has given form to her feelings about music and growing up in a family where music was an everyday part of life. The most prominent among her works is a mid-sized portrait of a violinist, titled ‘We are one', done in shades of orange and blue.

It is also Pavithra's favourite, because, she says, “My father used to play the violin.” Pavithra says she inherited her artistic skills from her artist-musician father David Punita. Many of her works are oils on canvas but she also loves working with watercolours.

Most of her works put up at the Galleria are portraits of musicians — a trumpeter, a sitarist (in pink, red and blue), a jazz musician (‘Lost in jazz'), a street musician (‘The lone busker'). She has also painted tango dancers, capturing their passion and movement rather than the dance itself.

“I live in New Zealand where there is a jazz festival every year. During the festivals, the street performers, the buskers, also perform. I have always been touched by the way they are lost in their music, undisturbed by the hundreds of people who walk on the street. Then there are the tango artists who come from South America. They too perform in auditoriums and in the streets. I find the couples so in tune with each other that it seems like one body is moving in place of two. So I tried to capture the mood, colour, costumes, passion and energy of these artists,” explains Pavithra.

She's a former President of Watercolour New Zealand and a recipient of the ‘People's Choice Award' and the ‘Innovation in Watercolour' Award at the annual New Zealand Watercolour Exhibition — Splash 7. She also regularly exhibits at the annual New Zealand art show.

All of the paintings use one colour palette and many beautiful shades — of red, blue, yellow, orange and green. “I was born and brought up in India, where colour is unavoidable. I was always moved by the bright colours in my mother's silk saris, by the colour of kumkum and haldi. I also wanted to experiment in primary colours to bring life, vibrancy and passion,” she says.

Her strokes seemed smooth and delicate, detailed and deep. What stood out was her elegance in depicting the emotions on the faces of her subjects, as they blended into the background, yet stood out so beautifully.

Pavithra's works are on display at Galleria Leela at The Leela Palace until July 17. Call 30571190 for details.