For Kavita Sunderrajan, the unseen yet deeply felt connections between everything around her spark creativity, compassion, and love for colours. The 37-year-old Chennai-based Malayali-Tamilian artist had two of her paintings displayed at the recently held second edition of the Madras Art Weekend (MAW) in Chennai. In both her acrylic paintings, 'The Space in Between,' and 'The Dawn Arriving,' the universal bond was an integral theme. They were received well by the artist fraternity too. In a conversation with Onmanorama, Kavita opens up about her works, her journey as an artist, her future projects, and more.
"The tiger looking directly into our eyes in 'The Dawn Arriving' reminds us that we are all part of the same creation. Similarly, in 'The space in between,' a little child can be seen completely integrated with nature, just as it battles a deep set of dilemmas within," says Kavita. "We all come from the same source, integrated and connected in ways beyond our understanding. I use my art as a means to spark this discussion within the viewer. I hope to make people reflect upon life in a world that seems to be moving further away from reality," she explains.
She remembers how an art aficionado was moved to tears upon seeing the child in the painting, at MAW. "She made me feel her goosebumps as the painting brought about flashes of her childhood. This touched me in a way I cannot express," says the artist, who was born in Ernakulam and grew up on a farm on the outskirts of Bengaluru. She says her urge to be in touch with nature and all things around her, right from childhood, has nourished the artist within her. "Every evening after getting back from school, I used to spend time outdoors, milking cows, plucking weeds, and running around barefoot enjoying the fruits of nature. This has left an imprint on the way I feel about life," she says.
Kavita started taking her art seriously in her early 20s, though drawing and painting were always a part of her life. "My husband Kiran Joseph played a big part in this, pushing me and encouraging me to explore it further," she says. "He guided me through this process. Then, I did multiple short courses in London at Central St Martins art school and Slade University, which gave me a new perspective," recalls the artist, who says her style evolved over the years.
Currently, she is exploring a method where she uses smaller pieces that come together to create a larger impression, just like in her MAW paintings. She is also working on a series that started with 'The space in between'. "It will further explore the connection between everything," she says. "I am looking forward to showing this collection sometime by mid-2024," reveals the artist. Kavita says she's grateful for the opportunity she got to be part of MAW, an initiative of the International Foundation For the Arts that showcased more than 100 artists. "It was a fabulous culmination of art and culture. The art fair was brilliant and a great platform to connect with so many people from the art world," she says.