From housewife to an artist, passion leads her life

It is an achievement with a difference. In the absence of any formal training or a guide, a housewife from Mangalore city accepted internet as her teacher, made the optimum use of it, thus opening herself to a new world altogether. The advent of internet changed her life for good in several ways.   

For Sheila Nayak, from Manna Gudda, life was no different than any other housewife till 2004, before she began learning the ABCD of computer. With an innate passion towards technology, she assured herself that she would explore all the possibilities of new technology and restart the learning process.

Being an art enthusiast, Sheila who had stopped painting after her marriage in 1989, resumed to learn new forms of art and craft using various websites. Though the learning process began slowly, in the last three to four years, she made it a habit to surf the internet extensively researching on various art stuffs. 

Today, Sheila Nayak is an expert in preparing various crafts including paper mache craft, OHP glass painting, sticker glass painting, pop-up cards, origami, clay modelling, shilpkar works, tile painting, mask designing, hand puppets, wall painting and what not. By not letting her expertise go waste, she has been teaching the art and craft work to children by conducting camps during summer and Dasara holidays since 2007. 

Speaking to City Herald, Sheila Nayak said that when she was living the life of a normal housewife, she always desired to do something different. “I was always an art enthusiast so much so that I chose Botany, Zoology and Chemistry combination during my B.Sc course over Maths which I loved the most, just because I could get to draw in Zoology record books. 

After graduation, I joined BGM School of Arts where I undertook art training for eight months. During the brief course, with the support and special attention by mentor B G Mohammad, I learnt pencil art, charcoal, black and white wash work, water colour and oil painting. And that was it. I got married and was settled as a housewife, looking after my husband and two children, ignoring art,”she says.

However, her life witnessed a U-turn as computer and internet entered her house. As she learnt the craft through internet and experimented at home during the free hours, she decided to share her knowledge with children. The first summer camp which started at her home in 2007 with 15 participants, has become a successful venture now, with at least 25 children taking part in two months summer camp and 15 days long Dasara camp. In fact, apart from the camps organised by her, she is also invited by various private organisations as the resource person for their camp activities. 

Restarting the art journeyThough initially she restricted herself to craft making, keeping aside the painting, it was in 2009 that Sheila held the painting brush for the first time after a gap of 20 years. “My co-sister who had seen my painting work during my wedding time, was inspired and gave an order for preparing water colours floral paintings in 2009. After a long gap, I held the paint brush, thus began my journey of art once again,” she says.

Of late, she along with her children Manisha Nayak and Prajwal Nayak has created several paintings which have adorned her house walls. She also exhibited some of her paintings in Kala Mela held at Kadri Park months ago and also took part in ‘Varna Vanitha’ at Mahatma Gandhi Park recently, which has definitely given a boost to her work.

 A member of Karavali Chitra Kalavidara Chavadi, Sheila has the dreams of exploring new art forms in future. Though she has lost interest in solo exhibition, she has a better dream. As she puts it, “I would like to open an art gallery through which I can provide a platform for talented artists who have failed to come to limelight. The gallery would not be restricted to painting activities, but also craft and other things.” In an attempt to self-learn new forms of art, she is dependent on internet. For instance, after motivated by watching Kerala mural paintings in one of the exhibitions, she gathered more information on it via internet and tried her hands in creating two murals. A humble woman, Sheila says that she is not a great artist and her paintings can not compete with the art work by experienced artists, but she is quite contented with the way she has evolved herself as an artist.

A vivid reader and always open to learn new things, Sheila is greatly inspired by the ideologies of spiritual gurus like Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Bannanje Govindacharya, Osho and others. From a housewife who was financially dependent on others, to a woman who earns and contributes to the family now, Sheila Nayak has seen different facets in her life. In her early 40s, artist and tutor (running a tutorial), Sheila Nayak is leading contended life with her husband Narasimha Nayak, a small time businessman in the city and the two children. 

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