Simran Khurana's works are a fairytale trip to nature

S truck by delightful colours and a fairytale presentation of nature on canvas from a distance, one impulsively ventured inside the Habitat Centre's Visual Arts Gallery last week. It was a treat: huge lotus flowers in any but their original colour, with their elongated, dancing stems; sparkling white butterflies as if decorated with precious stones; lush green forests and crimson skies, a light from heaven beckoning nature and making it shine with brightness.

It made one smile. Just like veteran artist Ramachandran becomes an observer in his own works, in these works too, a girl peeps into nature; sometimes as a snail, sometimes as a bee, fish, butterfly or flower. The face is curious, as if astonished at the beauty of God's scenic splendour, and is often pensive too. Humour also reflects through interesting works in which an animal, usually a dog, becomes her pet subject. At times he seems resting inside a fully bloomed rose, where a bewildered bee is waiting to suck the nectar from the flower, and at times dogs turn into Gandhiji's three monkeys. They have flowers covering their ears, eyes and mouth.

The exhibition also featured a video in which the observer in the paintings is performing Bharatanatyam while the images of all her colourful works form the backdrop; the blooms and flora and fauna pass through her mudras, implying that she is dancing amid beautiful nature, appreciating its expanse.

These works replete with colours and aesthetic sense are made by Simran Khurana, a 25-year-old, charming, petite girl with long hair and a beautiful smile. Speech and hearing impaired, Simran communicates through her paintings and her warm smile. Her mother, Renu Khurana, explained, “When she was a year old, she developed meningitis, which caused hearing and speech deficiency. But she is under treatment and is learning to speak.” An old catalogue with old works by the artist was proof of the several exhibitions in which she has featured in India.

Simran displays a positivity, which is perhaps reflected in her works.

In exalted company

Out of many pure nature artists, you can only recall the Sri Lankan artist Senanayake and French artist Maite Delteil who transport you to such fantastical worlds, but these are senior artists. The exhibition's curator Alka Pande, who is also Simran's teacher at the Delhi College of Art, even goes to the extent of comparing Simran's works with those of European masters like Hieronymus Bosche.

Renu explains, “Simran has been in love with nature since her childhood. In her works, she attempts to show what flowers and animals are trying to say. She interprets them as innocent and fresh and devoid of deceit unlike us. She finds animals her patient and uncomplaining companion, hence they find a mention in her works.”

RANA SIDDIQUI ZAMAN

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