Stirring a sense of wonder

CHILDLIKE INNOCENCE Nalini Misra Tyabji’s “Bertie”   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Taking us away from the routine realities of world, Nalini Misra Tyabji’s art works takes us into an inclusive space where we meet cheeky clowns, ogling owls and flying fish. The prolific artist’s canvases paint a world where there is no space for jealous and judgemental people. Her recently concluded show “Mojo Nama”, showcased 64 works in mixed media including inks, acrylics, pen and collage. A “completely self taught” artist, Tyabji says, “I know no boundaries, everything appeals to me. I am interested in all forms like folk, figurative, landscape, abstract, flowers, etc and would always like to do a kind of fusion.”

Nalini Misra Tyabji

Nalini Misra Tyabji  


On how her experiences has shaped the theme of her latest works

The theme is really about me and who I am. These subjects are what have always appealed to me ever since I started painting as a very young child. My father, however, wanted me to have a formal education and after that marriage and children happened. I could never take up art professionally. It was only when my father fell gravely sick and I was looking after him, that to distract myself, I started painting day and night. So I think my works will always reflect the child within me and the kind of art I wanted to do as a child. Art that is happy, appeals to both children and grown ups, to everyone who still carry that sense of wonder.

On “Mojo Nama”

Mojo means magic and nama means in the name of. It is the completion of my art trilogy as my last two shows have been ‘Whimsy Nama’ and ‘Wonder Nama’. All my paintings connect to this theme of magic and the impossible. My animals have almost human expressions, which is surreal yet so life like. I think all of creation is just one beautiful whole, and so animals and trees have personalities too. Also, nature is part of us and we are part of nature. So I always try to bring all of it together, even though in a way which is amusing and fanciful, and as I said earlier, that reflects a childlike innocence.

“Kitty Kat”

“Kitty Kat”  

On how the works transport the viewers to a land of fantasy and make them rediscover the child within them

‘Fly me to the moon’ shows a girl flying off on her own steam while ‘Fly me a fish’ has a little girl flying on a fish. The bright colours I choose, the motifs within the paintings will make one smile. Have you seen children draw? Their art work is full of dots and circles and doodles. So even though I take the same route, I use these elements to create fanciful storylines. ‘Kitty Kat’ and ‘Street Cat’ are two cats that have a bird sitting on each. In the normal world, would cats and birds go together? But children would easily imagine such a world. The same goes for ‘Bertie’ and ‘ET’, two dogs (named after my own dogs who are now no more!) who have a bird perching on each. So this is like magic realism, a term that denotes that these things can perhaps exist in the real world but there is an element of the mythical in it.

On the canvases being colourful, sometimes giving a sense of fairy tales

The colours add to the idea that our life should be celebrated everyday. There is so much colour around us that we should try to look at the positive things in life, instead of reflecting on the sad and the bleak.

Well, these are not actual fairy tales. It is straight from my imagination just as a fairy tale belongs to the world of imagination. Any art is really a means of escape from our normal, boring, ordinary world. Art transports us to a realm where we can see, hear, feel and act in any manner that we wish to. It is, therefore, escapist. It helps because in our daily, mundane lives, we are afflicted with so much pain and chaos. Art should be able to heal, and that is what the aim of my paintings is.

“The Bard”

“The Bard”  

On her works on Krishna

Krishna was the family deity and we are believers in the Shrinathji of Nathdwara. When I was 15, I was given a book on Kangra miniatures and I copied each and every painting in that book, so fascinated I was with the Krishna form. It was natural then that Krishna became my muse when I turned to art. All my paintings about Krishna depict him not just as a god but my friend. I see Krishna as a symbol of freedom and abandonment, of beauty and joy, and most importantly, not just a male god but with a feminine side as well. For me the blue colour of Krishna is about ‘Infinity’ and ‘Eternity’ (these were the names of two Krishna paintings in the show) and he is sometimes in front of me and sometimes around me like space. I paint Krishna with long hair as I want to show his feminine side, as in the work ‘Raslila’ where I have dressed Krishna as gopis.

On her next show

For my next show in 2019, I am calling it ‘Nalini Nama’ and that will include a large body of abstracts as well, as now the abstract form has started appealing to me much more than before.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 2:18:45 PM |

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