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Vagabond SPIRIT

Born in a tiny country, Nirveda Alleck has travelled to many corners of the world and experimented with several art forms



Nirveda Alleck: `I have always found the duality of human thought and behaviour very interesting.' — Photo: Murali Kumar K.

"OURS IS a tiny country with 1.3 million people," smiles Nirveda Alleck. "You can drive down from one corner of the country to the other and cover the whole distance in an hour and a half!" The young artist from Mauritius, currently visiting India to participate in the 11th Triennial organised by the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, made a short trip to Bangalore to take part in the International Painters' Camp held recently.

From calm to chaos

Coming from a country well known for its calm and charm, Nirveda naturally found her first few days in Delhi quite "chaotic". But she now seems to have taken to the country. "Among other things, I enjoyed my brief tour to Rajasthan. I plan to revisit India to explore other places such as Kerala."

Not that travelling is anything new to the artist. In fact, Nirveda flew to South Africa to join the University of Cape Town for a degree in Fine Arts at 18. "I come from a large Hindu family in Mauritius. Being the last of the eight children, I was quite pampered. No one else in the family was specifically interested in arts, my mother being a housewife and father a jeweller. But I had always found drawing and sketching interesting. I won a school art contest when I was seven, and that probably triggered my interest. When I decided to pursue higher studies in art, there were no institutions in Mauritius except the Government-run school, from which I could at get a diploma. So, I decided to go to South Africa and join the Michaelis School of Fine Art."

For the young aspirant in her teens, the stay in South Africa not only provided a new setting but also posed fresh challenges. The political climate too vastly differed from what existed in her own country.

But after the second year, her projects became more focused and exciting. By the time she had majored in Fine Art, Historical and Critical Studies and History of Art (the other course components included a study in Archaeology, Mathematics, and Philosophy), her name had been placed on Dean's Merit List of the university and her works displayed at several exhibitions.

With a BFA degree, it was time for Nirveda to fly again. Her entry to the Glasgow School of Art, Scotland, in a way, coincided with her growing disenchantment with painting. The school not only enrolled her for the MFA course, but also afforded her opportunity to experiment in other forms such as installation and other forms of new media. She finished her Masters in Fine Art with a thesis on Utopia After Nihilism.

As one views Nirveda's works, one is struck by her keen sense of experimentation and innovation. Even when she paints, she follows an unconventional mode of splitting her works into several fragments and arranging them into a cognisable whole. For her installation and other works, she plucks fragments of daily life and reinterprets them to come out with meaningful, if abstract, creations. "I have always found the duality of human thought and behaviour very interesting to explore," reveals Nirveda.

Art film

Adding a new dimension to her work, Nirveda is currently involved in the making of a 13-minute art film. "The project is being funded by the Mauritius Film Development Corporation. I'll start the shooting immediately on my return to Mauritius."

With a clear bias on the visual expression, the film would not only scan the physical terrain of a beautiful country, but also reveal the colours and contours of Nirveda's own internal landscape. A portion of the script reads: "... Beautiful, delicate nature. A dog's bark is faintly heard. The leaves rustle, the wind dances through the narrow rows of plantation. One can smell the electricity in the air. This is my village. Home of my youth..."

ATHREYA

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