• Padmja Sopori

Painted Love

Painting is a way of life to connect people and bring culture and people together. Without the appreciation of paintings and colours in life, people will have to find other channels to illustrate their creativity and channel their voices somewhere else. Hobbyist World had the opportunity to talk to Bahaar Dhawan Rohatgi and her journey to find her artistic side.

For five years, Bahaar juggled both professions until one day she decided to merge both her passions. Awarded by ASSOCHAM at the SAARC Women Economic Forum 2017 as the best emerging artist, Bahaar has exhibited her artwork in more than 30 shows in India and abroad, including the prestigious Arte Laguna In Venice last year and in Dubai earlier this year. Her work has found patrons in the ruling family of Abu Dhabi. She delivers lectures/give talks on furthering the artist in you and simultaneously works on furthering Art Law in India.

What is your favourite thing about art?

Art is an alternate universe for me. An avenue for me to stay creative and connected. It's an energy for me- I don’t probe too much or try to understand it- but I feel it. It gives me a sense of refinement from within. The beauty of creativity lies in the perception and the ambivalent emotions it evokes, being intuitive, altruistic, fearless, and finding my reality beyond what society or circumstances impose. It goes beyond all wrongs and rights, outside the realm of judgement. Each of my paintings tells a story or conceals (protects) it, leaving the audience to discern the same. Creating this experience empowers me while the joy in creating is unparalleled. It is the only time, when all three elements- my mind, body and soul are completely in sync.

What's your favourite thing that you have made?

It's difficult to answer this. We all are constantly evolving and I create spontaneously. I do get attached to my abstracts more since it makes me question my thought process and moods- some of that magic- the vulnerability/ feeling can never be recreated/ achieved again.

What is your favourite medium to paint with?

I enjoy experimenting and mixed media. Acrylics and pigments are most frequent as colour is predominant in my artistic language. It used to be resin but give the health risk involved, I have significantly reduced the use of the same.

What inspires your creations?

Everything! I am a seeker, a learner. Travel, people, ups and downs, social evils- tradition, culture, human behaviour as a response to its circumstances -works that are detached from straitjacket of definition, boundaries to invoke thought or comment on contemporary society. I constantly experiment and paint a lot from the visuals, epiphanies from my dreams, introspection, music, real life case studies & experiences- all of which are camouflaged/ masked under layers & labyrinth of mixed media work. Being self-taught aids the experiments, as I never stop seeking. I am the ‘Curious case’ in the family with selective amnesia who chooses to be attentive only to the extent that aids inspiration. This is something that being a lawyer taught me- disciplining the mind. Knowing when to start or stop daydreaming. This helps me as an artist as well as my daily life.

What do you enjoy most about your craft?

The diversity, experiments and the motivation to make others experience.

As a self-taught artist, my work knows no boundaries, no silver linings yet the recourse to what we face every day is recognisable in my work if put in perspective. Mine is a quest that goes beyond form, yet pulsates with an awareness of a larger order, revealing gleaming epiphanies. I thoroughly enjoy abstracts- but revisit figurative art when I have to recreate specific scenarios.

Can you tell us something about painting that people may not know?

I am not just a painter (not a trained one at least). You can never be just a painter. But I am an artist and painting is just one medium that has chosen me. I have always been aware of what lies within- and I urge everyone to recognise the same. The free flowing mind and soul. All these art forms come from your soul and validation is only a consequence- that doesn’t make or break you as an artist, (ideally it shouldn’t) - because it is secondary. We all create using our unique language and that itself is art. This can take any form. It is a spiritual experience- not a chore. The more you invest in it, the more connected you feel with your inner self. I think concepts like finding your purpose etc are far fetched but follow a pattern or create/perform what keeps you alive and motivated.

In law, they say there is no protection of ideas (unless manifested)- but that is real life. Art, on the other hand, can make every feeling so real if you dare to imagine.

I believe in communicating without restriction. Despite having a liberal approach, I find myself restricted sometimes because such is life and that also gets manifested in art. As an artist, I like to live my parallel life vicariously through my art. All artists are the same, the independence of being whoever you want, feel whatever you want can only happen through their art- not in real life since it’s not the wild west. We all have commitments, attachments, responsibilities but your art can aid a private getaway- be your own personal paradise, without actually getting physically transported there!

What's one piece of advice you'd give someone who wants to start painting?

Let the canvas not intimidate you, you are the person adding life to it. Just start and think of the canvas as a mute confidante and share everything you feel in that moment. Too much planning is sometimes counterproductive and strips you of originality. I feel most of the time, my paintings guide me rather than the other way round. I just surrender to my instincts. Time is a luxury most of us don’t have anymore because of how busy we have made our lives so try not to overthink what you will create. Once you start, there is nothing to lose apart from your inhibitions. Keep creating, keep communicating and dare to feel. It's one life, and there is no bigger travesty than not being able to fulfil your desires in a balanced way. It’s my constant endeavour.

You can see more of Bahaar's work here