Going beyond the obvious

Ambika Shaligram
Friday, 23 March 2018

A chat with Vidya Dengle, who will recall her artistic journey in the Chitra Samvad series, to be held on Sunday

An artist is what Vidya Dengle always wanted to be. Interestingly, she became an artist with the tag ‘versatile’, explaining her excellence as a painter, sculptor, ceramist, violinist and now also as a writer. The Pune-based artist is going to speak about her journey in the Chitra Samvad series organised by Maharashtra Cultural Centre’s Sudarshan Rangmanch, on Sunday. 

When asked about her interest in diverse mediums, Dengle credits it to her upbringing. Says she, “My father was a painter. He also played the tabla. My uncle and aunt were trained in classical music. There was discussion about art, art forms, also veteran artists would come over to our house. So it was no surprise that I wanted to be an artist.”

Before she joined JJ School of Arts to learn painting and sculpting, Dengle trained as a dancer. “I trained in classical dance with guruji coming over to my house and I dedicated several years in its sadhana. I presented dance performances in school and college years. And, when I started learning painting formally in J J School of Arts, dance took a back seat. In J J School...I learnt the technique of realistic and abstract drawing. But I actually started painting a few years after I passed out from J J School. I wanted to break out from the confines of the methodology and discover my style,” explains Dengle.

As she changed cities, Dengle came into contact with many artists, which influenced her style. “In Delhi, I met V S Gaitonde. I showed him my paintings and he said I should exhibit them. That’s how I had my first solo exhibition. Obviously, when I met the artist, I was keen to learn from him. But I realised there is no point in asking him, ‘How do you paint?’ He would have replied, ‘It happens’. Instead I spent some time observing him and observing myself too. That’s what happens with musicians too. The tanpuras speak to them and that’s how they perform. How does one explain malkauns (raag) to people? It either touches the audience or not. A layperson will only feel its sweetness, but their ears may not be trained to pick up the nuances in the playing,” she adds. 

“How does one explain form? In realistic painting, it is fairly easy. But in abstract, it’s not. You have to go beyond the obvious,” she points out. 

Dengle’s artistic journey has been very organic. “All the art forms that I have learnt and mastered complement each other. The only factor is that people who know me as a violinist, might not know that I am a writer or painter as well. Having said that, my journey has been very fulfilling,” says she.

Artist Vidya Dengle will be talking about her artistic journey in the Chitra Samvad series organised by Maharashtra Cultural Centre’s Sudarshan Rangmanch on March 25 between 11 am and 1.30 pm

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