Mother and daughter: Bonded in love for painting

Letter from New Delhi

Kul Bhushan traces the journey of Ruby Bajaj, and her daughter, Deeksha, both exhibiting at the India Art Fair in New Delhi.

It was 2 am and Ruby Bajaj kept tossing in bed unable to sleep. A powerful urge to paint had welled up in her after many decades. She got up and looked around her home but found nothing to paint with. Desperate, she found an old notebook, went into her kitchen, spotted the turmeric jar, and started to paint with her thumb. To add green, she found the henna pot and the red colour came from her box of vermillion.

As a teenager, Ruby painted for fun and hung a couple of her artwork in a photo framer’s shop. When she went back to find out about the fate of her paintings, she was delighted to discover that both had been sold! Even getting a fraction of the price of the material was a major boost for her hobby. Soon she was married and started a family. She became so involved in running her home while bringing up her three children that, until that night, she had not realised that four decades had whizzed by. Now that her children were married, art found the right moment to resurface.

Ruby and daughter Deeksha at an art exhibition

Ruby relaunched herself as a painter. After filling a few notebooks with her thumb art, she organised herself with canvas, oil paints and brushes to get going. Since then, she has never looked back.

Her art is her meditation, she says. In her paintings she mainly incorporates impasto techniques to produce relief works. She also loves to play with textures to create abstract and semi-abstract paintings that are inspired by the beauty of nature.

After sharing her initial paintings with her relatives and friends, she created a decent collection that could be exhibited in New Delhi art galleries. Currently her work is on display at the Constitution Club of India where the huge modern art exhibition is attracting crowds.

Earlier, in October 2023, she was shown at the Lokayata Art Gallery. She also participated at the Speaking Art Fest of AIFACS in September 2023, and took part in a group exhibition at the RKG Art Gallery, in June 2023, and displayed her work at the Kalavithi Art Gallery, in March 2023, where some of her works were sold.

As a self-taught artist, Ruby has come a long way and yet she says that her best is yet to emerge. Her paintings incorporate an X-factor that makes them unique. She has also inspired her daughter, Deeksha Bajaj Thapar, to take up painting and evolve into an accomplished artist. As she continues to manage her home and all responsibilities that go with it, she carves time to indulge in painting to explore new vistas with that X-factor.

* * *

Deeksha Bajaj Thapar: From corporate deadlines to artistic curves

After eight years working for MNCs, she had enough of the corporate world with its deadlines, tensions, and the whole rat race. Despite her professional education and training, she felt suffocated.

Topping her education with an honour’s degree in English from Delhi University, she had gone on to obtain an MBA from JIMS and a diploma in International Business Environment from the University of Nottingham in the UK. No wonder she was quickly picked up by MNCs. But after eight long years, she started yearning to express her creative side.

Encouraged by her husband, Rohit Thapar, and inspired by her mother, Ruby Bajaj, she joined, for over three years, the Roop Chand Institute of Fine Arts to learn from its eminent artist, Roop Chand. During this time, she mastered the basics and evolved as a visual artist, fascinated by colours, tones and textures. Her paintings are a visual perception of positivity with mainly cubic abstraction displaying a lot of textures and hues.

Deeksha started to exhibit her work in August last year, first at the International Art Fair held at Ambience Mall Gurugram, followed by the India Art Festival at the Constitutional Club of India in October.

This year in March, she exhibited at the Kalavithi Art Gallery, in June at the Art City at RKG Art Gallery, in September at the Speaking Art Fest of AIFACS and in October at the Lokayata Art Gallery. She has also designed and painted glass panels for a pub called, Intactu, in Pune.

Millions of miles away from project reports and office memos, Deeksha is now fully immersed in her paintings. “That wasn’t my life,” she smiles, “painting is my true being.” 

Mother and daughter – Ruby and Deeksha

In this photograph, Ruby Bajaj, is handing over a large painting brush to her daughter, Deeksha, to symbolise the creative bond that unites them as artists. With art in their DNA, both mother and daughter are emerging as promising artists, jointly exhibiting their paintings, often sharing the same stand.

It’s beautiful for me to see how mother and daughter have become fellow artists. They have a lot in common.

“Painting,” says Ruby, “has become a passion for both of us. I don’t know how, but my paintings have some mystery, some fantasy which comes up from inside of me.” And Deeksha adds, “A true artist is not one who is inspired but one who inspires others, and my mother has done just that.”

Kul Bhushan worked as a newspaper Editor in Nairobi for over three decades and now lives in New Delhi

Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 17 November 2023

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