Itchy feet & A Sketchbook
Photo by Sumedha Sah

The Canadian poet Elizabeth Brewster rightly said that people are made of the places they live in, travel to or aspire to go. Growing up in a small town in the foothills of the Himalayas, I was defined as much by my origins as my desire to go places, to see the world that existed in the great unknown. Exploring the layers of narratives that make up a particular place is a central theme of my work. Any city, town or village, after all, is but an amalgamation of a multitude of stories that originate from the lives of the people who inhabit it. Through my art, I seek to capture the spirit and identity of a place, to discover the poetry that exists in the fabric of these lives, that intangible force that connects one with one’s surroundings. Whether it is the overcrowded Mumbai local trains, the strong stone walls of the Jaisalmer fortress that Satyajit Ray immortalised in Sonar Kella, the multitude of snails that come out during the rains in Himanchal or the frozen glow of the moon over the white Rann, each artwork captures my lasting memory of the places I visit.

The rains were upon us in HImachal, and these little creatures, homes up on their backs, were all we saw on the ground.

I often imagine the Hindu goddess Kali — goddess of time and change — as the one who sustains and preserves the incredible network of trains that the Mumbaikars fondly call the “locals”.

The sun shines radiantly on Jaisalmer and in the middle of it all, surrounded by the fort walls, stands the impressive Sonar Qila, almost stuck in time.

Pigeons perch everyday on the high pagodas of ancient temples in Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, creating an immensely powerful and lively atmosphere.

Stepped agricultural fields, a stream running alongside, a settlement on the ridge surrounded by the Himalayan range together characterise the nature of most parts of Nepal.

Everything Goa: an enthusiastic yoga girl, a western bikini-clad sun bather, a Royal Enfield Bullet, seafood, and the white church distinctive of the Portugese settlers.

A full moon night and the glistening salt desert of Kutch.

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