Lotus as the metaphor for life

When as a counsellor, Prenita Dutt started introducing art to her patients, little did she know, why art was important to her. Gradually, she realised art was a significant part of her life owing to its therapeutic value. That is when, in 2003, she decided to give up counselling to become a full-time artist. “I think I have seen myself get drawn to painting and creativity. With counselling as an educational background, choosing to work as a full-time artist has been a very subtle but clear shift. So, art and psychology remain my two biggest areas of interest,” Dutt tells Metrolife.

As a self-taught artist, she believes art is a healing process and it removes confusion and provides clarity. “There is no way that it doesn’t help. I am totally convinced that it makes one calmer,” says Dutt who works as an art facilitator and volunteer for people with disabilities at NGO Action for Ability Development and Inclusion (AADI).

That is what made her choose lotus as her theme for her recently held seventh solo exhibition titled ‘Jalaj – An Ode to the mysticism of nature’ displayed at The Academy of Fine Arts and Literature, Siri Fort Institutional Area. “I paint everyday in my studio and there are ideas that keep coming back. Lotus was one of them which first came to my mind about nine months back. The lotus has always been mentioned in a very spiritual manner and in so many (religious) texts. Other than that the perfection of it, the way it grows, in muddy water inspired me to take it up as a theme,” says the Delhi-based artist.

While in certain works, human figures form a prominent part along with lotus flowers, there are other works which concentrate on the interplay between different shades of lotus. She avers, “It became from just a symbol of a flower to something that was a huge learning for me. Some of the works have lot of intricate lines. While making those lines, it almost seemed like a meditative process to me.

The colours are completely instinctive because I am a colour-driven person. While they look complicated, they simplify my life. So, in a way, that was magical.”

She adds, “Just as the lotus spreads across a wide breadth of its habitat, art too pervades every sphere of my life. It helps me understand the nature and sanctity of all living beings. I recognise the oneness in everything and that is why, it is a perfect metaphor for this life that we lead.”

While over the years, she has been most comfortable with oil paintings, for this particular show of 69 works, she experimented with acrylic, oil, permanent and transparent ink, water colours, pen and charcoal.

“Every show is special but this was deeper. It helped me work with different mediums; so many contrasts and still find harmony. That has been the most important takeaway,” says the artist who took almost a year to complete the work.

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