Rita Jhunjhunwala

by Ekatmata Sharma
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For Delhi-based artist Rita Jhunjhunwala nature has always been her muse. Be it the resplendent view of Benaras river ghats or the surreal dessert of Rajasthan, she has always painted her canvas with god’s creations. Her latest love for lotus is inspired by her trip to Kumarakom in Kerala’s backwaters, where the myriad lotus ponds attracted her to paint these semi-realistic naturescapes.
She started painting at the age of 12 and has won the prestigious Soviet Land Nehru Award for painting at that tender age. Born and brought up in Kolkata, she began working in watercolour. Her paintings retain a feel of the Bengal School, but she moved to oil for some time before zeroing in on acrylics as her favourite medium. She works in mixed media using charcoal and gold foil. Graduated from Calcutta University in 1977, she has undergone extensive training under eminent national artists and art professors like watercolourist Indra Dugar, Ashesh Mitra and Chitra Mazumdar of Calcutta Art College and Bimal Dasgupta of Delhi College of Art. Earlier in her art practice, she has painted a series on the Buddha where the lotus has made an appearance in some works and now she is expanding on the idea with her current show. Combining reality with dreams, light with shade and staying clear of abstraction, her canvases reflect bold yet measured brush strokes. The colour palette in her works is in muted tones, keeping in mind “the ethos of the subject”, but it is the sheer transparency she achieves even in the acrylics that they look as ethereal as watercolours. Her canvases have a feeling of serenity reflecting her simple sufi personality.
Her current work UNSULLIED will be showcased at Galerie Romain Rolland, Alliance Francaise, Lodhi Road, New Delhi from September 22 to September 25, 2016, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Including 30 works in paper and canvas.
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