Colours beyond red tape
After five years, Sudha Pillai was seen again with her exhibition of paintings at India Gandhi National Centre for the Arts last fortnight. RANA SIDDIQUI speaks to this bureaucrat-artist.
A work by Sudha Pillai.
HER HEAD was always buried in books and heart in colours. Sudha Pillai, a bureaucrat and a painter, has been successful in keeping a balance between the two. An IAS officer, Sudha who is now an Additional Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, recently exhibited her works in gouache inks, pastels and mixed media titled "Pancham" at India Gandhi National Centre for the Arts.
Sudha has come back to exhibit her works after a five-year hiatus. This time with richer tones in colours and more subjects on the canvas. After she topped in her graduation in the whole of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, and then again in her post graduation in which she also received two gold medals, she had to make a choice between further studies or art for a career. "I was in two minds. Yet I gave Civil Services an attempt and stood second all over India. But I couldn't do away with my passion for painting. So I kept it alive, alongside," says this soft-spoken treasure house of knowledge and wisdom.
A self-taught painter, Sudha has always been experimenting with medium. Her first such experiment was ink on ceramic tiles in 1998. In her subjects, women invariably play a significant role. In Pancham too, she translates it into Pancha Shakti that is female power, which is vested in the women panchas.
"I have been interacting with these women for quite some time now. They exude immense confidence, so they form an integral part of my work. Pancham is also sound of the koyal and it is also the fifth and the purest note in the musical note, to which nothing can be added or deleted. Hence, the title of the exhibition," she explains.
A little unhappy with the increasing commercialisation of art, she believes that tips in newspapers on investment in art trivialise art. "Art should be one step ahead of money. Else, the theme paintings which are becoming the order of the day would become the order in art too. And the artists would turn craftspersons. It is the responsibility of the artists to save it from the sham."
Incidentally, Sudha's paintings can also been seen in a group show at Krishna's Collection from next Wednesday.
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