Born and brought up in Delhi, one of the foremost Indian contemporary women artists, Arpana Caur however pursued her Master's degree in English Literature from LSR. She insists on talking about the time spent in London, though. It's understandable, for that period of Arpana's life formed an important part of her artistic journey.
In 1979, Arpana went to London after she was offered Greater London Council Grant for Advanced Study in Painting in St. Martin School of Art, London. She elaborates, “I went to London and stayed with Mario Puzo's wife. . Being extremely shy and introvert, I couldn't lift my eyes on the road. Even Shamshad Husain, M.F. Husain's son was in Royal College of Art but I was too shy to go up to him and say that I was feeling lonely.” Arpana still retains her shy nature but has gone on to become good friends with fellow artist Shamshad Husain.
However, adjusting in London was very difficult for Arpana. “I wore a sari on my first day to college in London. I was travelling in the tube and didn't know how to go on an escalator. As a result my sari got stuck in it and I went to college in tears.” Arpana made a well thought out but difficult decision to return to India within a month. “Returning to India was not an easy decision and I was scolded by my family. But my soul was in India and I never regretted it,” says the self-taught artist who is participating at the ongoing India Art Summit.
The time spent in London isn't devoid of fond memories, however. The artist fondly recalls, “I cherish the moment when I saw museums in London and when Mario showcased my work in her gallery, Arts38 which was opposite to Madam Tussaud's and it was appreciated by The Guardian and The International Herald Tribune.”