Aashna Abrol exploring the expressions in the Artwork of artist Sweeta Rai

Sweeta Rai

Mumbai, India.

Aashna Abrol exploring the expressions in the Artwork of artist Sweeta Rai

Coming from the cultural capital of India, Varanasi, Sweeta Rai accomplished a Masters in Fine Arts from Sir J.J School of Arts. Sweeta’s work is essentially autobiographical as one can notice the reminiscences of her childhood as well as her everyday experiences. 

One can notice a striking vibrancy in her presentation and spontaneity in her style. With constant evolution and consistent experimentation in different mediums and forms, Sweeta explores different layers of the human mind, inner consciousness and other feelings like abandonment, emotional turmoil, agony, dream and desire. Some other social motifs like women empowerment and contrast in rural-urban lifestyle have been recurring subjects in her work.

AA: What experiences have shaped your figurative art?

My figurative work is a reflection of my original feelings. I never hesitate in expressing what I feel even if at times people feel that my work tends to be over-expressive. I draw my subjects from my immediate surroundings; most of my paintings involve telling and retelling the story of life. It is the story of every human and is universal in nature, though it originates from personal experiences but reaches beyond that.

AA: What made you shift your style from figurative to abstract?

I never plan my artwork; it is always impulsive and spontaneous. I characterise and describe my work with two terms, ’freedom’ and ‘truth’. After working extensively in figurative style for almost a decade I felt the need of recreating something new and found that abstract work allows me more freedom in expression as I am not bound to any forms and figures anymore. I feel that artists have to keep on evolving and experimenting in their style in order to grow.

AA: How would you describe your journey as an artist from ‘Banaras to Bombay’?

SR: I was fortunate to have been able to experience the stark contrast in the life of Varanasi, the land of culture and traditions and Mumbai, the city of dreams and desire, this has contributed a lot to my work as well. Varanasi had an everlasting influence on the mind, from dazzling blue skies to red-bricked ghats, deep blue water sprawling till the scarlet horizon, Varanasi has it all. I draw my vivid colours and bold shapes from my memories of the picturesque Ghats and the lanes. J.J, on the other hand, helped me in understanding the ‘art’ within me. My experiences at Sir J.J school of arts helped me in portraying an unadulterated and unaltered way of expressing my thoughts. I started expressing art in its purest form after my experiences at JJ.

AA. In most of your figurative works one can notice distortion of figures, what is its purpose?

SR. I feel that distortion of shape and form is essential if one wants to recreate and it creates a greater impact on the viewer rather than the literal depiction of something. One needs to comprehend such works through a lot of inferences. I had to break the chains of the traditional depiction of forms to create a style for myself, a style that would allow me to express accurately. Even a beautiful seed has to distort its shape for a sapling to grow, hence I see distortion as shaping something new rather than its defacement or disfigurement.