It’s not just about the Art, and not about the artist too. One thing about the art is that the two, art and the artist, need to merge. And, when you meet Madhuri Bhaduri and her work, you know that this amalgamation has reached to the perfection. Her life is an example. Her personality exudes positivism. Her humility inspires. And, her art shows it all. Learn more about life, being human and making of an artist in our candid interview with Madhuri Bhaduri, one of the most accomplished artists in India’s art scene today.
TheWOOMag: WHAT IS CREATIVITY? YOUR VIEWS ON CREATIVITY.
Madhuri: Creation is the desire for anyone to make anything extra ordinary…to create something that nobody has done. A compulsive need to clarify an emotional need on canvas is my idea of creativity. It emerges from the deep recesses of the human mind and emerges of some sort of a deep struggle within.
TheWOOMag: CAN ONE THINK OF MONEY FIRST AND THEN BE CREATIVE? OR, IS IT THE OTHER WAY ROUND?
Madhuri: Money cannot assist creativity…specially artistic creativity emerges from emotions and sensitivities …passion. It has to be from the heart. Once the skill is achieved, then comes the creation. Money comes only after the work of art is created. Unless the mind is focused on oneself it would not be a free expression and would retard the process. I must mention however that in today’s time money has become the yardstick for deciding the value of that art piece. I would make paintings and give away to my friends and family in my earlier 9 years before i had my first show. It was then in my very first show that i had priced my works and realized that out of the 60 paintings i had exhibited, 45 sold in 3 days. That’s when i realized that it was only the price that made people around me decide if my work was good, popular or not. I have been fortunate in this respect to have priced my paintings.
TheWOOMag: YOU ARE SLAVE OF ROUTINE. WHAT’S THAT?
Madhuri: When i started painting in my early years, i used to paint for a couple of hours everyday. Gradually, few hours turned into endless hours. I love my routine whether it is my work or my workout. I have been trained from a young age to work hard and put in my very best. Having put in my efforts in my first 15 years in the field of sports where i achieved three national titles and represented the state for several years in Badminton, gave me the strength and tenacity for achievements. My art has become my life and constant companion. It is like a relationship that has been the only stable part of my being. Fortunately for me it has become my profession and my sole means of existence. I have been received very successfully over the years and been fortunate to have a huge following for my works. Slave of routine…means that i enjoy my routine however monotonous it may sound, my work and workout which on some days may seem like drudgery i still prefer to opt for it as it has enslaved me .
TheWOOMag: WHEN DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER THE ARTIST IN YOU?
Madhuri: I was always good at drawing and painting right from my earlier school days. I must have got my artistic inclinations from my mother who was a classical singer, A grade on All India Radio for more than 50 years, my model and inspiration, she encouraged me. It was only after i gave up my competitive badminton after college that i went to my first love ” Painting.” I graduated in Economics and went on to do my masters in Art and Painting in 1988. By this time i had already started exhibiting my work. My work was appreciated by the legendary art collectors like Maharani Gayatri devi of Jaipur and Jamshed ji Bhabha, Chairman of THE TATA SONS. From then on it was a journey that i felt was destined for me. It has been a satisfying one which has given me not only monetary benefits but also respect and strength to deal with whatever came my way. It has truly given me great experiences..
TheWOOMag: DID YOU FACE ANY OPPOSITION OR REACTION WHEN YOU TOLD YOU WANTED TO TAKE ART FULL TIME?
Madhuri: Art during my time was only considered a hobby and not an occupation and so when i expressed my desire to take up art as profession, my dad said, “what will she paint and do“, but my mother who was herself a singer, recognized my need and encouraged me further. Fortunately for me my work was well received right from the teachers in my school days.
TheWOOMag: HOW YOU HAVE GROWN AS AN ARTIST OVER THE YEARS?
Madhuri: I have predominantly worked in oils for the past 40 years. I do works in other mediums but as a serious medium i prefer oil, my early years i was inspired by impressionist and painter Vincent Van Gogh being my favourite. I used to paint nature like fields, fauna, trees and foliage, seascapes element of nature etc. After doing a lot of figurative studies during my studies when i completed my masters in art i decided to study of Indian figurative works around me. Those days we had a lot of construction workers in and around pune who would be very colourfully clad doing their work. I was fascinated with their garb and how despite of their heavily adorned attires they would relentless toil at their work day in and day out. I stated a series on them which again was well received. Later during my travels, went on to paint Rajasthan and the life there, further also toyed with clowns and its amazing philosophy of smiling despite of all the pain within wearing a mask to hide ! 2000 onward i went back to my work in nature. Thus began my journey into nature in abstract, an internal journey, i started symbolizing elements of nature in my own language in texture and form that emerged from within my very own style. It was an inner expression that allowed my thought to flow freely. It was when my husband was seriously suffering and i had only my art as an expression of dealing with life. My work became more intense and the artist in me experienced the struggle that we all need to bring us closer to nature which is like god for me.
TheWOOMag: AND, HOW BEING AN ARTIST HAS EVOLVED YOU AS A HUMAN BEING?
Madhuri: I was always philosophical aware and curious too about human existence..i was again in the company of my grandmother who would take me with her to the theosophical society in Pune, besides playing a sport at a professional level also gave me the realisation of being grounded and realistic. Winning and losing makes you strong and also keeps everything in life at a wonderful state of equilibrium which is so essential to keep your mind body and soul in equilibrium. I am a satisfied and content person, who prefer to take each moment as it comes.
TheWOOMag: WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE ABOUT YOUR CHALLENGES OF LIFE? HOW DID YOU COPE WITH THOSE?
Madhuri: My toughest moments were when my husband fell sick and had a prolonged illness and i had to bring up my son alone who was only 5 when it started and finally could not save him..he passed away in 2007 and left me with a feeling of helplessness. During the 12 long years of seeing your companion just slowly leaving you, it was probably my optimistic nature..the sportsman in me and the philosophic side to me that sailed me through and brought out the best in me. God has always showered his blessings on me and taken care of all my needs. I am ever so grateful for that.
TheWOOMag: ON INDIAN ART SCENE. WHERE DO WE STAND?
Madhuri: Indian art has now started getting recognition in the Western world. Stating with the well known auctioneers like Sotheby’s Christies etc who see India as a developing country and are making their in roads into india in a big way Indian art will be taken more seriously in the western world.
TheWOOMag: ARE MANY WOMEN JOINING THE ART DOMAIN? WHY NOT?
Madhuri: Art as a profession remains still only for a specific strata in our society. As a profession it does not have a well structured approach and so it has its limitations in terms of taking art as a profession.The challenge is means of survival, with technology art can give artists a commercial approach to creating a livelihood. Women need to be more empowered to freedom of choice. Artistic expression requires freedom. Indian women are so bound by suppression and society that dominates them at every stage that it also deprives them of choosing their own profession.
TheWOOMag: TheWOOMag wishes you all the very best, Madhuri. Keep flourishing and keep spreading the positivism.