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ARTIST OF THE MONTH- SANGEETA BABANI

Sangeeta’s ‘Urban Abstraction’

Sangeeta with Javed Akhtar showing her works

For anyone having the pleasure of meeting Sangeeta, she is lively, cheerful and full of joie de vivre. And this spills over into her art which is richly textured and filled with vibrant colours and meticulous craftsmanship and thought. A perfectionist by nature, her art reflects the work ethos and dedication of the artist with its minute detailing and technical acumen especially in her later works which one might call 'urban abstraction'.


Many of her earlier canvases are a blend of multiple worlds: seascape, idle European villages filled with water, the sky, quaint village houses and cafes and charming people. This is in contrast to her paintings of cities which reflect the world through her perspective as she views that world as it is today. She paints sky-scrapers, cars, people on mobile phones, nudity amidst a backdrop of the hustle and bustle of the busy city life what might be an ‘architectural abstraction’ with themes that touch on a quest to delve into the confusion of the individual with themselves and the relationship with the chaotic urban centres and mega-cities. Many times we encounter her figures acquiescing to the power of the populated mosaic of the metropolis.


Sangeeta grew up in the south-east coast of Spain where she completed her formative and higher education. She has meticulously meshed both cultures of India and Spain in her paintings. She has exhibited her paintings at the prestigious and iconic Jehangir Gallery in Mumbai in addition to countless groups exhibitions and 10 solo exhibitions spanning a career of fifteen years as a professional artist.


Untitled, mixed media

AA: Could you share the process of your painting? Do you visualise the painting?


SB:


“A blank canvas I see unlimited possibilities.”


The nothingness of the beginning that is so simple and breathtakingly pure it is the paint that changes the meaning and the hand that creates the story. I am a lover of colours and empty canvases, and art for me is very autobiographical and comes from within.


AA: How do you describe your journey of becoming a landscape abstractionist?


SB: As artists and Creators we are continuously evolving our work


“Not satisfied to remain static; we explore and experiment.”


I believe we move through development cycles much like the stages of human development. I started as a teenager when my mother enrolled me in drawing classes and it created the foundation for my interest in art. I felt with every stroke and every line I was stepping into a different world- one which did not have boundaries. And that is what excited me then and still excites me now. Thus, the journey and the process has been continuous.


AA: Is there a time frame to finish one artwork? Few days or a few months?


SB: It depends. The mood plays a very important factor in that. Sometimes my painting is completed within a week and sometimes there are paintings that take months. My paintings are very detailed and thus the time aspect is something I am always aware of.


“I am most interested in expressing my perspective of the world as I see it.”


Therefore, you will notice a nexus of urban cosmopolitan motifs and symbols blended with cultural-religious depictions of the place or the feelings. So my paintings stretch the imagination from something as simple as Lord Ganesh amongst the people of India to Urban cities and resorts which are filled with people, umbrellas, water, the sky, boats, houses, trees and balloons, cars, buses and planes. I have done many paintings of cafes and people because I love observing people especially when they are free and are enjoying the small moments in life.


The Journey, 4x5ft, Acrylic on Canvas

AA: How do you feel your artworks are part of eminent collections?


SB: I participated in a worldwide exhibition at the prestigious Grand Palais in Paris 2018

where my paintings were part of a global initiative to showcase the work of contemporary artists from 60 countries. I was also selected as a representative of India for another high profile exhibition; “100 Countries 100 Women” where all the painters were women and I was an artist from India. Obviously, it's exciting and I am always thrilled to be a part of these collections because not only is my work reaching a wider audience but also because I learn so much from other artists and their cultures.


Joyful Moments, 5 x 10 ft.

AA: How have you evolved as an artist since your first exhibition in 1998?


SB: I am bolder now, I experiment more with different types of medium and textures. At first, it feels awkward but eventually, we begin to create marks and paint passages with the facility.


“There is no final phase. You don't reach some evolved state and stay there. It's a continuous evolution.”


Recently, I was commissioned to paint a mural for the historically iconic Otters Club where I did one mural and two paintings. The mural was done in mixed media utilizing acrylic paints, wood, foam, metal and sculpture. For the two paintings, I experimented with resin and resin sand. I enjoy painting on fabric for fun as well as doing interiors and wall murals.


AA: What techniques from your studies of art in Spain do you utilize today?