Children of established artists tell what made them follow in their parents’ footsteps

It is said that home is where children get their first lessons. Children of artists from the city speak about following in their dads’ footsteps and say it is a wonderful feeling to be mentored by celebrated artists while also being criticised mercilessly. These new generation artists also find it comforting to be friends with children of other artists. They see no rivalry and feel it’s a great opportunity to exchange ideas, brainstorm and talk of art in general.

Says Afza Tamkanat, “This is mostly in college. When we meet outside we usually don’t discuss work, unless we are meeting on work. There is no question of rivalry because as individuals we tend to think independently and only by sharing thoughts can we get to improve our work.”

Afza is artist Fawad’s daughter and, despite being in different batches at Hyderabad Central University, she is friends with artist Laxman Aelay’s daughter Priyanka Aelay. Fawad and Laxman are friends as well.

Priyanka says she doesn’t remember how old she was when she expressed her fondness towards art, but when she decided to hold her solo exhibition she felt a different kind of responsibility in her. “I couldn’t afford to put up a spoiler. I had to be very careful as that was my first show and also remember I was the daughter of Laxmans Aelay, who is well known for his work.”

Afza says it’s the encouragement from her parents that made her believe in what she could do. “Dad would print my black and white paintings and send them as ‘celebrations’ greeting on different festivals to friends and relatives. Those paintings now make me squirm but dad used to encourage me to paint, whether or not I get to his stage.” Afza is planning for a show in Denmark and will then head to Paris for another degree.

Now Afza and Priyanka also have their own studio and Afza says, “It takes a while for mom to get me and dad to come down together for a meal. She gets bugged but she is also our full-time critic.”

Both these girls, besides doing portraits and abstracts, like to highlight social issues through their work.

Afza and Priyanka are not isolated cases. Children of other artists too have taken after their dad and have made art their mainstream profession.

Jayaprakash and his sister D. Shanti are continuing with what they have learnt from their dad, police officer and artist D. Nagaiah. They say arts dictated the environment in their house and their dad let art inspire them. Jayaprakash says that their dad’s self-taught style is unique and he respects the way Nagaiah worked to do meaningful art after giving up commercial art.

“He didn’t force us to paint,” says Jayaprakash. “He gave all the four children a fair chance to try our hands at what we love the best.

As children, all four of us started to paint but my two brothers opted for movies and music and moved on. While my sister loves portraying Telangana women, I have put my heart on cats. It took me time to develop a theme around the tiger, I worked close to seven years to get the concept and forms right. All this credit goes to our dad, for he has been our inspiration in many ways.”