Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 570 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
A recent exhibition at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bengaluru featured the oil and acrylic paintings of mother-son duo Raadhaa SG and Hemanth Vamanshankar. The artworks are priced from Rs 2,000 to Rs 30,000.
The artistic journey
“My mother and I began exploring art in 2002 under the able guidance of our teacher, Bablu Ray. Having learnt and experimented with various media, we chose to focus on oil and acrylic,” Hemanth explains, in a chat with YourStory.
The showcase of their talent is the culmination of their efforts over the years. The displayed works reflect their fondness for nature and spirituality.
“Art and craft have always fascinated me since childhood. However, the opportunity to learn formally only materialised in the year 2002 after having quit my job as a banker,” Raadhaa adds. “The joint exhibition has blossomed after almost two decades of learning, unlearning and experimentation,” she proudly says.
Hemanth describes art as a form of meditation, relaxation, discovery and positivity. “After facing the challenges as a surgeon during weekdays, art soothes and calms me down as I paint during the weekends,” he says.
“Art is my joy and happiness, an expression of my inner child. It takes me into a silence zone and a feeling of timelessness. More than passion, it is meditation for me,” Raadhaa describes.
Hemanth has practised oil, acrylic, and knife paintings. “Initially, I used to reproduce art created by people I follow. Over the years, however, I have begun using images I capture as a photographer,” he explains.
Raadhaa has learnt a range of styles: Tanjore paintings, murals, pottery, oil, watercolours, acrylic, and mixed media. “What is important is that I give life to each of my works, and that it speaks out to each and every viewer,” she adds.
Impact and appreciation
For Hemanth, success comes from bringing happiness to audiences and recognition of his own unique style and technique. “The contentment I get knowing this is more important than the monetary rewards I gain from the sales proceeds,” he says.
“Success means both creation and completion of your mission as well as the realisation of its ultimate and permanent value. If the ultimate value is remuneration, appreciation is the permanent value which touches your inner essence,” Raadhaa describes.
Both artists call for a broader appreciation of art in society, beyond wealthy audiences. “People in India are slow to recognise the time, energy and money invested in each artwork, and want to purchase at the lowest price,” Hemanth observes.
“This is quite opposite to the situation in developed countries, where art and artists are immensely appreciated and respected. They view artwork as a form of investment and artworks are preserved and handed down generations,” he adds.
He calls for more art events and platforms to bring artists and the public together. “More importance should be given to art by the government in the form of art museums,” Hemanth suggests.
India has a great and lengthy history of culture, tradition and heritage, which is always represented in its arts and crafts. “We can combine ancient wisdom with new-age digitisation and technology to rediscover and recreate it,” Raadhaa advises.
Art in the pandemic era
The pandemic times are particularly tough for society, with doctors right at the frontline.
“Working as a healthcare provider during the pandemic, stress levels were at their peak. Weekend art and painting had taken a backseat for me, especially in the second wave,” Hemanth recalls.
“However, encouragement from my mother and teacher really helped, and slowly I got back to my good old days of weekend painting. So art for me was a stress buster, and soothed and calmed me during the pandemic,” Hemanth affirms.
“Many who had a passion and inclination for art but had no opportunity before the pandemic, started working on art – especially those who were too depressed with lockdown,” Raadhaa adds.
Art gives peace, solace, happiness, hope, and companionship. “Though the pandemic has affected society, nations and the world as a whole like wildfire, I confined myself and focussed on painting. The result is our exhibition,” Raadhaa explains.
Both artists have messages for audiences and aspiring artists, in terms of observation and technique.
“Be persistent in your efforts. Explore various mediums in the art field before focusing on the one you love. Try to learn from the best people in the field of art and you will surely excel,” Hemanth advises.
Art is not just for business or something to learn. “When artwork is created by artists, their mind, body, spirit, emotion and soul are put into it. Art becomes meditation and a great masterpiece will be created,” Raadhaa adds.
She cites John Keats in this regard: “A thing of beauty lasts forever.”
“Observe your surroundings and the beauty of nature. Art is everywhere! Once you learn to appreciate this, the beauty of a good artwork will easily be appreciated by you,” Hemanth advises audiences.
“Every creation, small or big, trivial or extraordinary, has its own essence, beauty and energy. In the eyes of an artist, all creation is creation of the divine itself. So let us all salute the great work of artists,” Raadhaa signs off.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues for your creative core?
Hemanth Vamanshankar and Raadhaa SG