Lawyer-turned-artist Suril Desai, who is exhibiting his artwork in the city, talks about how art helped him recover after a major surgery.
After lawyer Suril Desai went under the knife for cardiac surgery, he found himself confined to the boundaries of his home. To fight the boredom, Suril picked up a paintbrush for the first time in his life, and let his emotions flow on the canvas.
The lawyer-turned-artist was drawn to painting because he feels it helps bring people together. “To me, art is an opportunity for people to come together to share how they see the world in radically different ways. What draws me towards art and other forms of cultural expression is that disagreement is accepted and embraced as an essential ingredient,” he says, adding that creating art was like therapy for him. “At a personal level, art is truly therapeutic. I started painting as a form of therapy, however soon it turned into a new-found passion.”
Suril now has an exhibition titled Soul to Soul, showcasing 40 of his abstract paintings.
The time after surgery was not easy for Suril as he was pulled down by helplessness, but he found freedom in brush strokes and blending colours. He says, “Painting diverted my attention from being in a state of self-pity to that of joy and fun. I was able to channel the constraints of being confined for medical reasons and express my provocation with bold strokes of colour. At the same time, art is a meditation that brings peace to my soul.”
Well-known artist Kisalay Vora does not only inspire Suril but also mentors him. Sharing his experience working with the artist, Suril says, “Kisalay would not tell me what to do or how to do it, he simply would tell me to go into a ‘No Mind’ state and not think about the end result. Instead, he would enjoy the process of how quickly things can change for better or for worse. Thanks to my mentor, I have learned to treat each painting as an organism that takes up its own character by the unique interplay of colours.”
Suril has also participated in exhibitions on foreign land, and these particular paintings have been exhibited in Madrid and Rome. The artist is more than pleased with his stints and says, “I always exhibit with another local artiste, and hence I've been introduced to a new cohort of art lovers across a spectrum of artistic sensibilities. Some were intrigued, and others were more interested in chatting with me about my life post-surgery. To my surprise, I got several inquiries for sale, I never expected that.”
Even though he is a creative individual at heart, Suril never expected to have his own art exhibition. “I never thought or imagined that I would be painting. I have thought of art as an asset, I've thought of its transactional value, but certainly not as something I would be creating actively. There was a phase where I thought I would be a filmmaker or be associated with films, documentaries, etc.,” he shares.
When asked about his future plans with art, he is quick to reply with his motto - carpe diem. “Since my surgery, I live day-to-day and don’t make any grand plans. I still am at a very early stage of being a student of art; it's been just about two years. I would like to learn how to use colours more effectively. I would love to explore different mediums and finishing techniques and perhaps attend art school. The artist within me is very young and yet to fully emerge,” he concludes with a smile.
—The exhibition is ongoing at Asian Heart Institute, BKC, till October 6.