Madhur Tankha

NEW DELHI: A solo art exhibition on varied themes by Delhi-based Kashmiri artist Neelam Dhar is now on at The Tea Lounge in Hotel Taj Palace here.

Titled “Cinderella Too Have Dreams”, the exhibition is showcasing 13 semi-abstract paintings. The works highlight women's aspirations to get a new accommodation or job, doing humdrum domestic chores and other contemporary subjects.

Even during childhood, Neelam was dabbling in sketches of mythological figures. “I had this fascination to make exact replicas of Hindu Gods like Krishna from calendars. Then slowly and steadily I started using my imagination and my confidence increased by leaps and bounds. Even though I was a fully-trained artist, I did art courses from the Agra University and the Delhi College of Art.”

Neelam feels mastering in one particular subject makes an artist's painting look stale and monotonous. “Composition of my paintings highlights my wishes and desires. I like using mute colours to portray my inner-thoughts. Sometimes my paintings get a new makeover and it appears to be very bright and shiny. This is my true inner-self.”

Neelam says her abstract works do not require any mental exercise to comprehend. All it needs is a roving eye to stare at and a fragile heart to admire it. “I enjoy art without thinking of consistency in my works. While creating, only one thing comes in my mind -- that my piece of art has to be one and only one on this Earth. No repetition.”

Indeed, in her ongoing exhibition every painting has a different look and meaning to it. To create the perfect painting, Neelam has to make at least three or four works of art before she gives one a final approval.

Neelam doesn't feel that an artist has to be an embodiment of typical Indian women. “We are all familiar with Cinderella. She was pretty yet simple and innocent. Even then she was intelligent. Somehow I connect myself with her. But I do have a mind of my own. Filled with creative ideas and beautiful dreams, hidden wishes and secret desires, I want to implement my inner-feeling on canvas. I initiated with figurative, went on to do abstracts and am now doing semi-abstracts.”

Born and brought up in Kashmir, Neelam left the Valley after disturbance began. But she doesn't want to highlight the fact that her State is infested with terrorism. “I want to convey happiness and calmness through my work.”

The exhibition that opened on May 10 is on view till May 23.