Smitha Menon, who prefers to be known as Tina, says her paintings are inspired by the rich imagery of Indian mythology and folklore

“Art, for me, is something that soothes the eyes and it is how I see today's dynamic world,” says artist Smitha Menon, who goes by the pseudonym Tina. The artist is holding her first solo exhibition titled ‘A State of Being,' at the newly-opened La Gallery 360 at Nanthencode in the city.

Tina blends the traditional with the contemporary in her paintings, which are acrylics on canvas, illustrated in the figurative style. All of Tina's themes are rooted in Indian mythology, folklore, and religious traditions as is evident in her brilliant images of the Trinity – Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva; the Buddha; Ganesha; Krishna; and the like.

The eyes have it

The eyes are the soul of her figuratives, and each pair of eyes, brimming with life, has been finely etched with heavy lids. “The eyes convey the the mood of the painting and are a recurring feature of my paintings,” she says, as she points to a painting of a serene Goddess Saraswati seated on a white lotus.

The artist's spiritual quest for stylisation gives a surrealistic touch to the paintings. “All my works are open to interpretation by the beholder,” says the artist.

Most of her paintings depict female images and all have been portrayed in vibrant hues with detailed costumes and backgrounds. Among these, a standout piece is that of the Tripura Sundari avatar of Goddess Parvati, which “depicts the beauty of the three worlds and three states of consciousness.” Similarly, the mesmerising images of Durga, Lakshmi, Madurai Meenakshi, Kali, and so on, packed with Indian motifs such as lotuses, hibiscuses, mangoes, swans, owls, parrots peacocks, and the like. Yet, the beauty of Tina's works lie in their simplicity and creative elegance. Tina's brushwork is also anchored by the timeless interconnection between life and death, and good and evil.

“Images of Ganesha and Buddha fascinate me. My paintings on the Buddha were inspired by a book called Sidhartha written by Herman Hesse. The Buddha has been my muse for long. Over the years, I have depicted the Buddha in many different postures and with symbolic motifs in the background such as conches, chakras, umbrellas, and so on that are central to Buddhism,” adds the 34-year-old Dubai-based artist.

Other noteworthy works in her collection of 25 paintings include one of Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi atop the Garuda, and one of Shiva and Parvati which epitomises immortal togetherness. Her painting based on the Shiva Purana depicts the God with his family, and represents a well-knit Indian family unit. Another one depicts Ganesha, Krishna and Subramaniam as cherubic toddlers and is titled ‘Ganu, Subu, Unni.' “Most of my paintings radiate positivity and are intended to be pleasing to the eye. There are exceptions, though, such as the one of Karna, whom I feel was a tormented soul,” says the artist. The exhibition is on till November 19.