With the objective of motivating young girls and women to work hard and strive for success, Ashok Shah, who is a renowned jeweler by profession, painted evocative portraits of as many as 22 exceptional Indian women during the Covid-19 pandemic. These acrylic paintings are now being exhibited at the WelcomArt Gallery of ITC Rajputana till May 21.
MOTIVATING YOUNG WOMEN THROUGH ART
On being asked what got his interest in creating portraits, Shah says: “When I was a child, I used to make pencil sketches but never paintings. My first painting was of my wife after she passed away in 2009. During the Covid-19 pandemic, I started making portraits of some friends as a pastime. Then the idea of making portraits of famous Indian women struck me as I found them extremely inspiring for youngsters. So I looked for some of the most powerful Indian women mentioned in the Forbes list and created their portraits”.
Some of the women whose paintings are exhibited in the gallery include Gita Gopinath, Nita Ambani, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Natasha Poonawalla, Vandana Luthra, Soumya Swaminathan, Shloka Mehta, among others. Talking about the criteria on which these women were chosen, Shah says: “I wanted to showcase some rich and famous women, while some are those who reached a high stature from humble backgrounds. I want to show that these women are at their places not just because of their affluent backgrounds but also because of their grit, hard work and ambition to achieve something in life. Women are hardworking, enterprising and better than men in every sphere of life but the Indian social system is such that they are often bound within the four walls of their home and stuck in domestic chores. Through these paintings, I want to inspire young girls and women to fully utilize their caliber just like the admirable subjects of my artworks.”
ART ALWAYS HAS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
Even though Shah has no formal training in art, his area of work (earlier carpets and now jewellery) has been such that he has an eye for aesthetics, design and colour. To make one portrait, the artist takes around a week where he paints for 6-7 hours daily. However, refining the work is an ongoing process that never really ends. “After making a portrait, I keep it in my bedroom and every time I look at it, I can see some room for improvement”, says Shah for whom art translates as the constant urge to do better and serves as a perennial source of inspiration.
To fulfill his desire to inspire young women, the artist plans to take this exhibition to several colleges in the city. Later, he also plans to exhibit his work in Mumbai and invite the women whose portraits he has painted. “Though currently I am not working on a new series but I would love to paint portraits of top 20 women from Rajasthan who have made a name for themselves nationally as well as globally”, tells Shah.
The exhibition was inaugurated by Rolee Agarwal, Commissioner of Income Tax Department, Rishi Mattu, General Manager of ITC Rajputana and Apra Kuchhal, Chairperson of We Care on May 14. It will be on display till May 21.
Date: 15 May to 21 May
Time: 11 am to 6 pm
Venue: Welcom Art Gallery, ITC Rajputana