She believes art should be happy and the time around Makar Sankranti is very joyful.
Weaving a subtle balance between art and architecture, Malhotra views the city of temples through a kaleidoscope of the festival of Makar Sankranti, and captures the soul of Kashi in her recent exhibition titled ‘Kashi Ke Rang’. “I’m trained as an architect and art is my passion. I have been painting for many years. Being from an army family, I grew up all over the country. I got to travel and beautiful places like Gangtok, Srinagar and Bhutan shaped my artistic perception,” says Malhotra.
Her father, an army officer, was also an artist and inspired her. “He also wrote well, I have copied his calligraphy from his college days in 1940s. When I was in Delhi I used to paint frequently and understood that there are no rules in art. Architecture taught me drawing in a certain different way,” she explains.
Talking about Benaras, she mentions, “Benaras is rooted to its traditions and faith. I look at it from an architect’s perspective. Being an architect, my art is slightly different. It’s more like an architectural drawing. I’ve lived in Benaras for 37 years and the music, art and culture there allows you to delve deep into it. It’s a cultural city and every big name you hear in music is mostly from there,” she adds.
She enjoys using oil on canvas. “For oil paint you don’t need an air conditioned environment and luckily I have windows in my room which open up to greenery. The richness of oil paint is unexplainable and I'm still learning. This exhibition is just a reflection of the contemporary mood in Benaras,” she explains.
She believes art should be happy and the time around Makar Sankranti is very joyful. “The festival is around the corner and it’s all about good health and living well and that is what I’m trying to capture. Most of the paintings are colourful, though there are some black and white and neutral ones as well,” she says adding that this exhibition is her first solo effort.
It took her three years to finish the Kashi series. “This exhibition is for anyone who loves colour. It’s all about happiness, birds, flowers and nature. We shouldn’t stay away from nature as whatever we are seeking inside us is out there in nature already. The simpler the life, the better it is. At this point of time you realise that everything else is hollow. Real things like family and friends matter a lot. How you simplify life is by making it enjoyable with these small yet important things,” she says.
The exhibition is on till January 14 at India Habitat Centre from 10 am to 7pm.