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Inspirational Woman: Nayanaa Kanodia | Economist turned painter

Nayanaa Kanodia featured

Naynaa Kanodia, artist. She is the pioneer a Western art genre called Naive art where artists with no formal training, specialize in vibrant, two-dimensional paintings. - Amey Mansabdar

A brilliant colourist, I am an economist turned painter, and am considered to be the pioneer of L’Art Naïf in India, a genre until then unseen and unheard of in a contemporary context.

I have established a rare niche for myself in this very particular mode. Having had a French leave of absenteeism from formal training in art enabled me  to bring patterns of strong individualism into my work long before it was considered the sought-after approach for unique and contemporary artists of today. Underscored by my self-taught education, my journey is a story of talent, passion and vision.

I have held innumerable solo and group shows in India and abroad. My paintings are in the collection of major art collectors and corporate houses all over the world. My work features in several auctions of Indian Contemporary Art internationally. Musée d’Art Naïf Max Fourny – Halle Saint Pierre in Montmartre in Paris permanently displays my paintings. I have exhibited and demonstrated my painting techniques in Victoria and Albert Museum in London and was chosen from all the artists of The Commonwealth Countries to have a solo show in their  newly renovated complex in London. I have been featured in an international publication Women in Art by Reinhard Fuchs, a rare honour for an Indian artist. Impressed by the social messages conveyed in my paintings, a consortium of schools in Los Altos, USA uses my work as a medium of instruction to their students. I was also honoured with an award from Megh Mandal Sansthan, Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India in 2016.

I am associated with many charitable societies, give talks and conduct workshops and presentations on art in various organizations and universities. I am also a judge in various art competitions. I have attended Art Camps in India, London, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Moscow, Greece, Thailand and Cambodia.

Tell us about yourself, your background and what you do currently

My current work The Quintessential Woman – A Celebration honours the indefatigable, indefeasible and invincible woman. She has succeeded against all odds and has pierced the glass ceiling, thereby breaking the barriers and mindset of gender discrimination which many societies across the world, particularly in India, struggle with. I use my artistry to not only challenge the invalid and obsolete perception of the role women play in a society. I also hope the viewers will appreciate the socio-economic and cultural contexts of my works; the transformation of Indian society often resulting in mind-bending dichotomies – a by-product of the country’s economic development.

My paintings portray a woman of today, her space of survival, the spirit of female endurance and the empowerment of pride and self dignity. This modern woman is liberated and unfettered by the stigmas of the past.

Tell us about any current projects or initiatives you wish to promote

For me there is no hard and fast rule for any project or initiative to promote my paintings develop as I paint. When the world that disturbs me and the world which I have an intimate understanding of are amalgamated and absorbed, a new artistic dialect is created. Through my paintings I have portrayed the importance of conserving our environment and our cities.

The projected images serve as a veneer, behind which an infinite number of experiences and

interpretations are possible. Behind the pedantic, accurate, yet often misseen scene, the world is so true, naked and ludicrous that we catch our breath as we recognize this.

The conversation I hope to create in my work is a certain truth of life and on a deeper level, a well thought philosophy. I construct fantastic versions of accessible scenes, both rural and urban utopias that imbed the history of generations. Individuals may interpret my paintings in vastly disparate ways and each view will be equally logical and plausible, thought-provoking and intriguing. A picture of the moment is built and whole histories and relationships become visible. My work is about time and through my paintings, time is movement stilled.

What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?

The biggest challenge for me is shortage of time even after working such long hours.

I literally work 24/7. I have to juggle around like an acrobat walking the tightrope and juxtapose work and leisure, many times sacrificing the latter. However, I would like to add that I am extremely relaxed and get rejuvenated when I paint no matter how physically and mentally exhausting the exercise actually is. My fingers itch the day I do not paint. I feel that I have missed out on something and the creativity vacuum sets in.

What has been your greatest achievement personally?

My biggest achievement is that I have carved out a niche for myself in the world of art where my paintings are recognized without people having to see my signature.

If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?

If  I was not painting I would have been an economist like my college peers  who reached extremely senior positions in the RBI, World Bank etc. I could have become the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

To record and bring about an awareness in the socio-economic conditions in our country or I can safely say the world is a big inspiration for me. My mission would be accomplished if I can bring about a positive change in this direction through my paintings.

Another inspiration and influence was of the Great Masters of Art particularly Rousseau, Matisse, Modigliani and Picasso. In fact in one of my exhibitions The Distinguished Company I delved into their psychological experiences and socio-economic conditions which prompted them to paint what they did.Taking valuable inputs from their paintings I incorporated their work into my signature style.

What does the future hold for you?

The future is very bright .The art world comprising the collectors and connoisseurs of art are taking a very active interest not only in India but all over the world.The internationalart  market is booming which means more recognition for my paintings. This itself is a huge impetus which  spurs me on to better myself and strive to reach higher pinnacles of creativity which makes me even more famous and to be remembered by posterity for centuries to come.

Instagram: nayanaakanodia

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Website: www.nayanaakanodia.com

Email: [email protected]

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