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Passionate Artist who creates magic with colours- Sarbani Bhattacharya

There is a famous quote  “Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks”-Plutarch

Entrepreneur of this month at Women Lines is such a passionate artist whose paintings are just like a silent poetry. Meet Sarbani Bhattacharya who has an amazing experience in the field of Art. Read about her entrepreneurial journey in field of art in her own words-

1.Please share with our readers’ little bit about yourself

I am an artist and private art instructor based in Singapore for more than a decade, exhibited Internationally. Completing my Bachelor of Visual Arts with a scholarship at Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata, I shifted to Singapore and started my journey.

Nature, Human relations and the mystical function of life on earth always inspired me. I was born and brought up in Durgapur, a city in West Bengal amidst vivid nature; my love for nature and trees started from there and has the biggest influence in my paintings. I come from a family of spiritual belief; my grandfather even wrote books on the mysticism of this universe, that influence also worked. For me, it is experiencing the awe of the Universe then converting the cosmic elements into visual elements.

An award on Mother and Child from Gnani Arts in 2006, triggered my instinct to explore more on the descendant of human life on earth. So far I have done two solo exhibitions with Gnani Arts and Utterly Art ,and numerous group exhibitions in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, Philippines and Dubai, which includes international exhibitions like the Affordable Art Fair (HK, Singapore) Art Expo Malaysia, India Art Festival, Art Fair Dubai, and Art Apart Singapore.

Apart from exhibitions, my art-educational workshops with few schools, NLB, and other private corporate organizations for kids and adults gained popularity. ‘Mother and child’, ‘Importance of re-cycling’, ‘We are the World’ ( Kids are the future), ‘Singapore’s Islamic architecture’ etc and projects for adults on serving society and humanity like ‘Each leaf counts’, ‘Tree of life’, ‘Art from scribble’, ‘Painting Music’, ‘Blooming Instinct’, ‘From Despair to Hope’ etc to name a few.Serving community through my art is another passion for me. The proceeds of my paintings sale contributed to Himanaapa Foundation, Thailand for forestation.Participated in a fundraising exhibition and contributed to the education of unprivileged children to Protsahan, India. Held 3 days live sketching at ITB Asia, for Blue Yonder and donated the paintings for preserving a rice variety and to help farmers.During my last solo exhibition in 2015, happy to contribute $1500 to Nature Society Singapore by selling a painting “In harmony with Nature-2”.

  1. So when did you venture into this venture and what inspired or motivated you to take a plunge into this venture?

    I was pursuing my B.sc when the change started, I started feeling a strange meaninglessness attaining my degree, some other form of expression suppressed inside me wanted to erupt. I decided to go for a Visual Arts degree, which was to add on 5 years more after completing my B.sc. There was a big struggle to convince my parents, they were very traditional. My private art teacher and the then art college head Parthapratim Deb convinced them, thus my journey started.

After attaining the degree, to start on my own here in Singapore was the next hurdle. I have to thank my friend Neena to force me to visit an art exhibition in Suntec in 2002, where I met Ketna Patel and another helping soul Geraldine Shubert, who motivated me to start my adventure here.

  1. Can you share with us some of the challenges you faced during your initial days?

Challenges stay at any stage in some or the other form. Truly speaking the biggest challenge for me was marketing for my art. For any full-time artist, promoting oneself while continue making art is always the toughest job. Promoting only is a full-time job, which disturbs the passion for doing art. Another challenge was space, have faced and still facing major difficulties regarding space, here in Singapore space is very expensive.I must tell I worked slowly. I registered Sarbanisart to conduct art classes and to run my conceptual workshops, but as an artist, I wanted to work with the very traditional way with galleries only. I believed in originality of ideas and honest representation, never advertised commercially about Sarbanisart, just maintaining a Facebook page for few years.

By God’s grace never run out of ideas.

People know me through galleries through my buyers, friends and students’ feedback and then eventually through media. Few students who are placed in universities, or doing job come back to join holiday classes, that is very rewarding.

  1. So how do you balance your personal and professional life?

Surely it was the most challenging part of my journey.

I always worked from home, so that I can give enough time to family. I saw my mother as a homemaker, for this I used to compare my every step with my mother and used to feel guilty for not doing enough for my family. On the other hand, I used to feel torn apart for not giving my 100% to my art. Though my husband, in-laws family were supportive still my own parameter of perfection kept me unsatisfied. To solve this, meditation helped. Upon my father’s suggestion, I did a yoga and meditation course from Art of Living, which totally changed my view to look at life. It brought the much-needed balance. I matched my working hours with my husband’s and daughter’s working hours and made myself free when they are free. I work slowly when required, but never stop. ‘Never stop’ this is my only motto, ‘achieve more’ this is not. When you are at peace anyway you achieve more and the struggle for achieving more fades away. With this fine balance, I am able to continue my profession as well as my passion for community service, performance arts etc.

  1. What would you suggest to other aspiring women who want to venture out on their own?

If they are thinking they wish to start something, ‘NOW’ is the time, and if not now then surely soonest someday, they should just believe in themselves and the power working behind them. Not to set a lot of expectations, but not to stop dreaming, never compare with other contemporary’s success, each one’s journey is different. I have worked with a lot of limitations, with bare minimum recourses, but I have kept my dreams alive.

6. Is there any person who has mentored/supported/inspired you?

Off course; then I have to mention a lot of names and it can fill a huge book. I am thankful to my childhood art teacher, art college teachers; friends in different phases of life, my family members….a lot of people knowingly or unknowingly inspired me. Now I accumulate inspiring moments from regular incidents.

7. What do you have in the pipeline for your venture’s future development?

It will feel a bit unrealistic to say, but I do not plan that way now, I give my 100% to manage my current situation, and believe that time has its own plan to bring the best out of me if I allow it. But that doesn’t mean that I do not dream or believe in it. I trust to continue serving community through my art, wish to spread my art-exhibit internationally to the countries I have not exhibited yet; want to do something with the healing power of art; want to explore more talents while working with my students; dream to try out larger works of different mediums, including architectural art items and sculptures.

Earlier when I used to set goals, I used to feel extremely restless for any delay or deviation of it. Now the new course of action has made me more productive. Currently working for my next group exhibition with Gnani Arts, ‘Spaces of Sanctity, Sacred Monuments of Singapore in Fine Arts,’ starting from 30 September 2017. Looking forward to a successful show!

Women Lines wishes best of luck to Sarbani for her journey in fields of art.

Visitwww.facebook.com/Sarbanisart to have a look at her paintings collection.

http://www.theblueyonder.com/newsletter/nov2009/mystrok.htm

http://www.anza.org.sg/blogpost/962985/189413/Protsahan-Singapore-Encouraging-a-better-future-for-women

http://theblueyonder.com/destination/india/kerala/

http://www.clay-street.com/thefloweringofachild/

An artist breathing life into beautiful Indian folk art- Swati Palekar

Swati Palekar pulled me in towards her stall named Swayam,which was filled with beautiful bright colored amazingly creative art pieces. Swati is the owner of Swayam Folk Art Painting in Singapore. I found it truly addicting and as soon as I discovered her work I had to see all.Fun, full of life and vibrant.These are the great feelings I feel viewing her products. The energy of her work is extremely positive and her creativity is excellent. Read about her entrepreneurial journey in her own words-

1.Please share with our readers’ little bit about yourself ?    1e497c08-13e8-4281-8036-ddc3647ccc14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a Singapore based, self-taught artist  who began her journey in folk art painting in 2012 after quitting a full-time career in finance and digital marketing. Art and craft has always fascinated me since childhood. I inherited this love for art from my mom who is an artist herself. Little did I know that my attempt at trying hands at Indian folk art paintings would grow into a passion leading to establishing a brand named ‘Swayam’ which is turning 4 this month. I specialise in Indian folk and tribal art paintings and use these traditional forms of art in creating trendy, contemporary & chic home décor products. Every product under Swayam’s label has been designed and hand painted with lots of love and patience in my studio in Singapore. I conduct folk art painting workshops for kids and adults and have lots more to do. I had some wonderful opportunities to  exhibit my work in some  reputed Art fairs in Singapore as well as  alongside leading lifestyle brands which  were very well received by local and expat communities. Thank you, Women Lines, for giving me such a wonderful platform to share my humble journey with Swayam folk art.

2. So when did you venture into this venture  and what inspired or motivated you to take a plunge into this venture?

I grew up in an environment where I was constantly exposed to art all around me day in and day out as my Mom was a working artist back then and a true entrepreneur at heart. unnamedWhen I look back I really admire the amount of works she had produced and the creative initiatives she had taken with all the limited resources she had. So I believe the seeds of creativity were sown during my childhood itself. Although she believed in me that I could do very well if I pursue a creative field, I chose to go with Finance, working for almost a decade in  Banking and Digital marketing sector. Till then I had no aspirations to become a working artist. But I have always been fascinated by folk art style painting. There is certain charm in folk art style painting that drew me towards it. Firstly simplicity in style yet so profound. Its a common mans art, Art every layman can relate to and appreciate and practice as well. Around 5 years back after I quit my job here in Singapore  the first thing that naturally occurred to me was to explore more of this form of art. I started researching more about the folk art forms and painting. One experiment led to another. But it was limited to just a hobby, a passion. Soon I started posting images of what I was making on the internet (just for fun). ‘Swayam ‘ was born due to the persistence of my dear friends who pushed me to take it to the next level and  pursue my passion professionally and insisted I showcase my work in one of the festive Bazaars in Singapore. Thats it, it all started then. I set up a studio on my little dining table, came up with a Brand name, Product line,  Exhibitions , Online marketing, followed by workshops followed by painting commissions and now my very own studio space. When I look back I realise that the key motivation and inspiration which drove me was discovering who I am and what I’m capable of achieving , living my passion and experiencing the joy of accomplishment on achieving those small mini milestones.

3. Can you share with us some of the challenges you faced during your initial days ?

Innumerable. Some of them I face everyday in fact. I used to get overwhelmed with them initially. Believing in yourself, your art is one that was my very first challenge. There is always risk of rejection but then as an artist you cannot have success without risks. It is very important to put your work out there. I too face those artist block moments which were initially very very frustrating. But the key is persistence and faith in oneself which is very crucial to keep an artist sailing through is what I learnt. The other personal challenge was discipline. Discipline to assign dedicated time and space for doing my art. I realised once my creative juices start flowing I am totally disconnected to the present. I just want to sit and paint before that design concept vanishes, the colours and patterns I visualise disappear. But then being a full-time mom and a homemaker that is not practical every time. Striking balance between personal and professional life is another big challenge which is easier said then done especially when you are the whole and sole in both the arenas. Creating is just one part of being an artist. Getting clients for your work is also equally important, especially for the sustenance of new artists. Creating ads, clicking product pics, pricing the product, packaging and the list goes on . Its all a one woman show at Swayam. Professional help in the initial years was not really affordable for my small home based business, so I had to learn all these skills , and its been amazing. I’d like to share one very important challenge I face till today – making the clients understand the handmade process. what goes into creation of each and every product unlike the mass factory produced goods. And since not every person is aware they sadly fail to respect handmade products by way of bargaining. Asking discounts is not wrong. Its always good to ask as some artists may have kept some margin for discounts. But without understanding the process when the prices are bargained by just converting the prices in SGD to Indian rupees (solely because the product is created using Indian folk art style) was something I experienced a lot in my initial years. I have not overcome all the challenges completely, but I can handle them much better today. The joy of following your passion makes it all worth while!

4. So how do you balance your personal and professional life ?

Frankly speaking I have not completely achieved that yet.. There are times I’m so drowned in work, trying to meet deadlines for events/commissions or workshops that I tend to overlook my personal life. Also there are times when my presence at home is the utmost priority and I have stepped back a bit from my work. A bit of discipline and time management has helped me  achieve a certain level of equilibrium. And some days I try and just let go. Swayam has taught me a lot. Its not only about painting or art. Apart from the artistic skills it teaches me very valuable life skills day in and day out. So hopefully someday I will achieve that perfect work-life balance too, and when I achieve that I will be happy to share it with you all:)

 5. What would you suggest to other aspiring women who want to venture out on their own ?

I meet so many wonderful ladies in course of my events and workshops and also get to connect with lot of them online. They are all so intelligent and have  immense talent . Some of them not even aware of what they are capable of achieving. And just like many of us they get too engrossed in nurturing their family. Over a period of time sadly they have lost their sense of self. I’m no expert who can give talks about running a business successfully.  But one thing I would like to share here is that if you really have the urge to do something go ahead and take that first step and set realistic goals for yourself. Easier said than done, I know. Doubts, fears, insecurities of course they all will be there.I too have them and have not overcome them completely. But I feel its good to identify them and accept them. That way we know what areas we need to work on. And surround yourself with family and friends who will genuinely motivate you and are positive. We all have the talent and resources within us , just need that initial push to step out of our comfort zone. Its a struggle..but once you take that first step the path unfolds on its own:)

6. Is there any person who has mentored/supported/inspired you?

Of course there are so many who have directly and indirectly influenced me, supported me as well as inspired me in my creative endeavours. I did not have any formal mentor though. As I said earlier the creative seeds were sown by my mom under whose guidance I was exposed to so many different art forms. I learnt folk art style painting by researching and studying work of various artists.  There are so many works done by men and women in rural and tribal areas of India, many of them whose names we don’t even know. I consider all of them as my Virtual Gurus and owe it all to them. They are my real inspirations. There is no use of sophisticated art supplies nor do they have any formal training as such but yet the artists manage to create some beautiful master pieces.Thats the beauty of folk and tribal art. Its all so inspiring. Support from family and friends definitely plays a vital role and I am fortunate to have it all. But it doesn’t stop at just getting inspired. What is important is picking up that brush and make the first stroke.

7.What do you have in the pipeline for your venture’s  future development?

There are many many ideas waiting to be executed. In terms of workshops and products which will be globally appealing. I have a blog , website in the pipeline for a long time. Now that I’m sharing about this publicly this will push me to work more aggressively on it  and hopefully, you will see it up and running soon.

Women Lines wishes Swati best of luck for her beautiful future!

 

Follow Swayam Folkart Painting by Swati Palekar on-

Facebook.com/Swayam.SwatiPalekar and on Instagram @swayamfolkartpainting

Email swayamfolkartpainting@gmail.com

 

Lady who is in love with colours-Shalini Kapoor

 

Shalini Kapoor is the Founder and Director of Little Artists, an art studio in, Singapore, which celebrates Art through children – to imbue their lives with colour, form, texture and composition. When Shalini established Little Artists, it was the confluence of two major passions-Art and Teaching children. She has special ability to train children in Art. She coordinates the entire art program, monitors the development /progress of all children and trains the staff at the studio. It is an entrepreneurial journey of 14 years which expanded without any marketing and advertisements channels but just on word of mouth publicity. At some point Shalini found it very challenging to manage the studio herself and then she started hiring teachers. Today there are 25 teachers working under her  both on full time and on freelancing basis. These teachers are professionally qualified in the field of arts and are trained specially as per requirement of the studio.A down to earth personality, Shalini finds enjoyment in every activity she gets involved, even she considers cooking as an art which has to be delivered with creativity.She is a woman of substance in real terms. Womenlines is proud to share about Shalini’s journey in the field of arts with its readers-

 

1)Tell us a bit about yourself

I am an art educator and an entrepreneur, heading art studios which provide specialized art education to children (age 2 1/2 to 17) and adults. We provide full range of curriculum, at every age and stage, which is tailored to their abilities and aptitude, grow their skills, eventually train them enough to be able to succeed in school and later lead them to Art Colleges globally.I am a graduate of Sophia Institute Mumbai, specializing in Design and Art. Before embarking upon teaching, I was a full time fashion and textile designer for various buying houses, with clients like Gap, Banana Republic, Billabong, Levis, Pier 1 etc. I then took a career break to pursue my passion in fine arts and later specialized in traditional Indian art. Art has always been my passion, since childhood.I loved my career as a designer as it brought its own daily dose of excitement. However, when I came to Singapore, instead of taking up a similar job here,  I felt the need to do something that comes naturally to me and is fulfilling. I love children and had a natural ability to teach and understand them. Once I started, there was no stopping. The studio grew not because I had planned it that way but because of the response and support from keen parents. Little Artists is the outcome of parents’ appreciation and a faith in my teaching philosophy.

2.When did you start your company? Where? And what motivated you to start it?

I arrived in Singapore in 1996, as an expat wife, accompanying my husband in his career move.I started the studio in 1997. I felt there was a need in Singapore, for a good quality art education for children. When I saw how children were taught in different art classes, I could see something was missing.Another thing that got me involved in teaching is my love for children. They get along with me very well and I love their company. It is one of those non observable bonds that exist between me and children.I have always derived happiness from seeing a child develop and feel confident.I believe in everyone getting chances, so I do not give up on people or children. I know that if I have class full of kids, I would want them ALL to be successful. I believe in finding unique solution to each and every student’s problem. With all the chances I was given as a kid, I should give all of my students as many chances as they need to achieve their potential. We have had many special needs kids who had no hope in academics but were interested to learn art. With many years of learning now they have become capable enough to aspire to pursue art as their career choice. This is absolutely satisfying and motivating for me

3.Any challenges that you had to face in the initial days?

I never looked at my work as a business, but as a mission.  I consciously resisted the pressure to grow the studio at a rapid speed, in spite of high demand  at all times. We always took only those many students whom we can give full time and attention. My greatest challenge was that the demand of the program was always superseding the studio capacity. Many times parents would get upset after waiting for too long. I didn’t want to take students and don’t do my best as I carry a moral and professional responsibility.I had to also make sure that the staff working with me is also as committed and maintains the same quality of teaching.It was hard to find such people. Overall I have been fortunate to have worked with wonderful people who aligned themselves well to the ethos of the studio. Another challenging period was during the SARS epidemic and economic down turns, but we stuck to our values, did not retrench any staff, but used that period to enhance their skills.

4.How do you balance your personal and professional life?

I belong to a very close knit family and am very close to my parents. Therefore I would like my children to have the same feeling for me.  I believe in clear allocation of time for my personal and professional life.I have two kids 10 and 4. I spend daily quality time with my children, play with them ,help them with their homework’s or be present in their school  and social activity as much as possible. On the days I am not working I take them out or plan a day where they have a different kind of learning with fun. I love to paint with my sons or go to the beach cycling. I like to talk to them and listen to their day to day happenings.I believe in having a balance in life. It is very important to set your priorities, be organized and be disciplined. Nobody can be 100 % perfect every day, but I try my best to fill up my day meaningfully.

5.What would you suggest to other aspiring women, who want to venture out on their own?

I would say be passionate about what you want to do and dedicate yourself to your work. Have a strong belief in what you do If you are good the rest will happen by itself.

6.Is there any person who has mentored /supported /inspired you

My husband Sanjeev has been my greatest source of support and inspiration He has always guided me to look at the big picture and not to let small problems deter me from my path. Being himself from Business Management School (IIMB), he has mentored me very closely in many aspects of my work. I do think that I would not have reached this far without him. He has been my true friend, mentor and guide and I dedicate my work to him.

My other source of inspiration comes from my mother who has always encouraged me to be independent and my dad, who is a homeopathic physician of national fame in India. He is a very hardworking and a positive man. He is 79 and still working. He loves his work and finds joy in curing cases which were declared incurable. He has taught me to find joy in what I do. According to him your work should be your greatest source of relaxation, and then you don’t need so many holidays!!

7.What do you have in the pipeline for your company?

I would want all children who are part of Little Artists to be successful and find their path in the field of visual art. I want the studio to be always a place of quality learning, for those who are seeking for real knowledge.Till we continue to meet the above two fundamentals, the studio can   grow and shape up organically to its potential.

A believer of quote “Painting is an extension of man’s means of communication, As such,it’s pure,difficult, and wonderful.”Shalini believes in giving back to society. She has done a lot of  work with SAMH (Singapore Association of mental health) as a visiting art therapist and has received rewards and recognition  for her services . She has  also contributed to  SCARF (Schizophrenia  Research foundation). Womenlines wishes best of luck to Shalini for her future!

Visit http://little-artists.com/index.php to know about Shalini’s venture.