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Multiple Realities

For someone who’s always interested in mastering new skills, Anjali Khosa Kaul says the exploration of new mediums is fuelled by her desire to further her artistic expression and delight her audience
Text: Team Art Soul Life

They say that visual language gets embedded in you when you grow up with artists. It’s true in the case of New Delhi-based Anjali Khosa Kaul whose father, Kashmiri Khosa, is an artist of repute and so was her grandfather Somnath Khosa. “Yes, it is true in my case as my grandfather was a realistic painter and an art director, who spent many years of his life painting the life of Mahatma Gandhi,” she informs. “My father is a contemporary artist, who has been working in both oil and acrylic on varied topics. I have seen and observed both of them working in their own styles and this helped me in understanding the nuances of colour and composition early in my life.” She says both have influenced and inspired her artistic techniques. “I would also like to even my mother Lakshmi Khosa, though not an artist by profession, has a very strong visual language.” She says her mother is responsible for not only instilling strong values, but also inspiring Kaul with her artistic work, which were usually then in the form of designing and sewing her clothes. “She has also dabbled in drawing and used to earlier do some pencil sketching,” Kaul tells us. Ask her about her earliest memories of art, Kaul says she was fortunate to have grown up in the company of artists, poets, dancers and theatre actors. “All such individuals frequented our place during those days and that played a major role in broadening my horizons and understanding of art as a child,” she says. “When I was in school, I accompanied my father to an art camp in Ganderbal, Kashmir, which was attended by many eminent artists of that time. I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to observe them working in their varied styles.” To name a few who inspired her, there was Dhanraj Bhagatji, Biman Das and V.R. Khajuria. “Dhanraj Bhagatji was working at that time in wood and that is where I got fascinated with wood as a medium for sculptures and later in life did an extensive series of sculptures in wood,” she says. Though she was into sculpture, whenever she played with colour and canvas, her father provided her an insight of the medium. Kaul says growing up to be an artist came naturally to her as she was brought up in an environment where everyone in my family was into art and aesthetics and they used to have a lot of creative discussions at home. “Also, as I said earlier, the frequent gatherings of eclectic groups of artists at our house further ensured that my mind was always occupied with various forms of creation and expression,” she says. “Even though I daresay my father never wanted his children to become artists as he considered art as a means to achieve livelihood to be a constant struggle. So say that beyond my grandfather and father, like every good parent, he also wanted his kids to have a much more comfortable life. But like they say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and the rest is history,” she chuckles. Talking about the various mediums she has worked with, Kaul says her first series of sculptures were in bronze titled “Along the Waves”. This series depicted the human forms, their moods and postures. The second series of sculptures were in terracotta again with human mood and posture. “For the next series, I tried my hand with wood titled ‘Growth’ in which I explored nature in its various moods. Thereafter, I worked in mixed media for some time keeping on Indian religious motifs as the central theme,” she informs. “Even though I specialised in sculpture, I was always interested in sketching and so my next show was charcoal, pen and pencil drawings. Thereafter I ventured into painting and participated in various group shows with my abstract compositions in acrylic on canvas.” At present, Kaul is working in ceramics and also keeping herself engaged by formulating a series of pen drawings. “So, to sum it up, I enjoy working in varied mediums and I am always interested in mastering new skills. My exploration of new mediums is fuelled by my desire to further my artistic expression and delight my audience,” she avers. Spiritual by nature, Kaul practices meditation, which helps her achieve a sense of calm and peace. “I believe meditation is a prerequisite for better understanding of your own self, which then translates into more meaningful work,” she says, adding, “Also, I believe being in and enjoying nature in itself is a spiritual pursuit. So my work derives a lot of inspiration from the same.” When asked to describe her art, Kaul says she doesn’t preconceive her work. “I work with my intuition and gut. Essentially, I do what I feel like doing in that particular time, space and my state of mind. It is only later when I have a body of work of that time that I start relating and connecting my work with each other,” she explains. Kaul says she feels happy when the viewer perceives her work closer to her thought process. “But I feel art, or any other creative work, should be open to interpretation. Art in my opinion is subjective, and thus open to the human mind’s imaginative amplitude and dictated by the viewer’s mind and aesthetic,” she tells her opinion candidly. Kaul says she works for her own happiness and artistic satisfaction and does not worry about its financial aspect, or a scheduled targeted mission. “In the process, I hope to experience and seek delight, introspection, surprise, fear, sadness and the entire range of human emotions and hopefully take my audience on that rollercoaster ride as well,” she adds. Originally a Kashmiri, Kaul says since she was born and brought up in Delhi, she did not experience the turmoil, unrest and disturbances of the valley. “So my work has largely remained unaffected by these happenings. But for the artists who were in Kashmir and migrated in the 90s during turbulence have expressed the feeling of suffering pain and sorrow in their work,” she says. Currently, the artist is engaged with pen drawings and glazed ceramic sculptures. “Ceramic is a totally new medium for me to experiment and I am trying to grasp the nitty gritty of this new material and understand how to achieve desired colours through various glazing techniques,” she says. “I am working in figurative ceramic sculptures and have a collection of unfired work, which could not be fired because of the pandemic situation. Once I will have these works fired and glazed, I will think about a show.” Kaul intends continuing with this medium for at least next two years as she feels this media will consume a lot of time and energy because of the technicalities involved. “I hope to create something unique, novel and innovative,” says the artist. Here’s wishing her the best!

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