Do external conditions leave you disturbed or does your mood affect your environment? Like the chicken or the egg story, artist Rajita Schade, born in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, plays out the role of affect and mood through stark colours and abstract shapes.
Our conversation reveals how sensitivity made way for uniqueness in her work.
Geography of Desire
MD: What were your reasons to take up art as a profession?
RS: Some of my earliest sensory memories are that of the smell of turpentine oil and the visual of my father’s studio. And ofcourse, the mystery of it all, coupled with some encouraging responses academically and from peers definitely played a part in my impressionable years.
But looking back I feel studying at the Faculty Fine Arts in M.S.University, Vadodara actually opened my eyes. It dawned on me there that ‘Art’ as a profession needs to be taken more seriously and it was possible to exist in the world as an ‘Artist’.
I realized then that one could spend a lifetime exploring and discovering, without ever exhausting the possibilities. The open endedness of it baffled and fascinated me in equal measure.
MD: How has your art journey been since you started way back in 2004?
RS: I think much had happened in my personal life in the 10 years preceding 2004. I spent those years becoming an adult and taking on responsibilities that came with an entirely foreign culture in Germany. So when I did move back to India, it was about resharpening my tools and reorienting myself. This resulted in technically sound but more literal visual translations of my environment e.g. portraits, plants, physical surroundings. It was as if I was mapping and rooting myself once again by relating to the tangibles around me.
I remember questioning my abilities as an artist back then. After 16 years of practice, I feel more comfortable in my skin and where I stand. Now the focus is inward and its translation is more abstract in nature; an organic process from figuration to abstraction. With my nature of questioning changing so has the articulation of attempting to answer them.
You and I
Us and them
MD: What was your inspiration for the latest series of work?
RS: My work is very personal, navigating through various stages of my life. It’s a reflection of the intimate inner life, as I brave to depict it. The process makes me comfortable with the discomforts and the triumphs of being a human and myself – as there exists a common thread in all human experiences.
The current body of work is called “Geography of Desire”. It is about boundaries – both imaginary and physical. Forever wanting to cross over, the human instinct of the grass being greener on the other side, needing to test newer waters and lands; with all the displacement comes enriched experiences all due to a human itch of sorts.
MD: Which Indian artists do you admire and why?
RS: From my contemporaries Manisha Parekh and Dhruvi Acharya are two women artists I greatly admire. There is bravery in Parekh’s abstraction and purity of form. A fine balance of boldness and sensitivity makes it all the more appealing.
On the other hand Acharya’s language is entirely different but embodies the same qualities. Basically, chutzpah and fragility co-exists in perfect harmony for both. And honesty makes them very touching.
MD: What do you hope to achieve from art?
RS: Art is a dialogue that one has with oneself and the outer world. I hope to have a dialogue and wish it’s expression strikes a chord with the outer world.