Embracing Art: Part 2 with Tara Anand and Manya Gupta
We all come into this world with a light of our own.
Some of us destroy the light of others just to enlarge ours.
Some of us share just enough of our own light to make others shine and blossom.
But there are a rare few of us on this Earth, who are willing to give out the entirety of our light to see others light up.
This is exactly why I am here to light and jazz up your world with another round of arts from in and around India. This time, coming in with their world of art not to portray, but to evoke something in us, are Tara Anand and Manya Gupta.
Tara Anand is an 18 year old Mumbai-based illustrator. She has been drawing ever since she was a little girl but began specializing in illustration at around 11 years of age. Her work is influenced by literature and history and she also enjoys graphic novels, creating comics and zines (which she does with a small collective called The Thursday People). Just like Srishti Dass, she is going to study illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Manya Gupta is the youngest of my artists on Embracing Art. Currently studying in class 9 in Delhi Public School Rohini, she started with painting when she was only 4 years old. Earlier she was not really open about her art, but when her parents boasted proudly about their little daughter to their neighbors and family friends, she was encouraged to make it her lifeline.
I asked Tara what perceptions she has come across when she was not always encouraged to let her creativity flow.
Being an artist means you’re bad at everything else” This perception is that if you’re doing art, it means you can’t do anything else. It leads to a lot of young artists having really low self esteem, especially school students.
Also, ‘Artists never have a steady income’ : this is something I’ve always heard since I was a kid and told that I’d either never make it or that I’d have to work a lot harder than everyone else just to make ends meet.”
Even Manya, despite being in school, told me how her hopes were dashed when she heard negative comments from people. Art is something that is allowed to be explored, but not followed. More like a hobby rather an a vocation. In her school, marks and academics are given more importance than art classes, usually taken up as chatting periods than expressing yourself on a canvas.
She tells me,“ People who pursue arts are not smart enough for anything else. Art and education are considered as two opposite things. A person who is pursuing art is considered dumb. Why can’t art be appreciated enough?”
She continues vehemently.
“Sometimes people do not realize how much hard work and years of practice is required for being good at it. People work really hard on their creations. The earnings of most artists is very low according to their work which is another reason for the discouragement of art. Only certain exceptions flourish. They should be heavily appreciated especially in our country where art was a part of our tradition since early ages.”
True, India is known for its Madhubani paintings, Kalamkari work, Warli Art and even the Patachitra and Kalighat works. One of the main reasons which incited the people to rebel against the British and foster a feeling of nationalism in the 18th Century is the famous Bharat Mata figure created by Rabindranath Tagore. So where did we lose our way from those times to now?
Nowadays there is an increasingly lesser scope for artists in India. They hardly get paid well. Getting featured in galleries and being able to earn a good income from that is strenuous and back-breaking.
But it comes as music to my ears when both of them retorted and told me that they were the lucky ones who have been always supported by their family and peers.
I asked Tara if she has any particular incident where she had to fight with people around her to be recognized.
“Not at all! This is actually something I never encountered directly; my parents and peers have been really supportive about me pursuing art. My mother is an artist herself so I not only got support, but guidance.”
Manya wanders around the same lines. She found her fascination with acrylic paints when she was only 4 year old little girl with amateur scribbles to a self proclaimed artist now. She describes her affair with art and the people who were ‘involved’ in it.
“People around me have always motivated me from the beginning . Not once have they doubted my passion or my interests. My parents’ mantra is to be happy and if you’re not doing what you truly love, are you happy indeed? Becoming an artist does not only require full devotion from the person involved, it also requires support from others. I am never fully satisfied with my work unless my mother approves it. After every step of my painting, I ask my mother if it is looking good or not and her honest opinion decides my next step. My father is the one motivating me to expand my horizons in art. The environment which I needed to bloom in was nurtured by my parents. I am who I am because of them and I believe that other parents should also embrace and be equally supportive of their child’s passions.”
Her parents pushed her to introduce her work to the world. This is where she started her Instagram account called ‘passionatepencil’. I hope she does not let her passion for the pencil wander away.
Our artists also illustrated what Art means to them and what Embracing Art signifies to us.
The work is untitled and shows her just under the surface of water, with her head and hands having broken the surface.
She says, “This is what painting makes me feel like, like I’m coming out from underwater and breathing fresh air for the first time.”
On the same lines is the beautiful medley of thoughts of Manya, who illustrated the Thinking Lady.
This painting depicts a person who is full of art and colours.The creativity of this person is being killed by the restrictions of the society’s words. Her soul’s love for art will help her fight through it all and support her to keep it alive. I hope you also will fight it out the way this woman is doing.
With this, I conclude the second part of my blog series Embracing Art. I started rubbing two stones last time,trying to ignite a fire within you. Maybe that fire was just a small fleck then, so is it growing now? Has it burned a few pieces of wood ( The haters, the discouragers, the bullies) ?
If your answer is yes, my passion as a writer is glowing now!
I’ll back with more artists next time.
Remember, you are made for something astounding.
Till then. Embrace Art, Embrace Life!