Delhi-based artist Rita Jhunjhunwala could have succeeded even as a Sufi poet. She speaks tenderly and pauses delicately between sentences while sharing her writings that accompany her art. And her art, like her persona, reflects the same serenity and composure both in its treatment and subject. The Lotus flower, which never fails to enchant, in all its varied hues and frames, is the leitmotif in her current body of work titled UNSULLIED which will go on view at Galerie Romain Rolland, Alliance Francaise, Lodhi Road, New Delhi from September 22 to September 25, 2016, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Including 30 works in paper and canvas, the show is largely inspired by Jhunjhunwala’s trip to Kumarakom in Kerala’s backwaters, where the myriad lotus ponds attracted the avid nature lover to paint these semi-realistic naturescapes.
“I am also deeply attracted to the philosophy of the lotus. It grows in such dirt and filth and yet, retains its pristine beauty and purity. In today’s trying times, perhaps that is how we have to live, keep ourselves unsullied despite the chaos around us,” says Jhunjhunwala, who graduated from Calcutta University in 1977 and has undergone extensive training under eminent national artists and art professors like watercolourist Indra Dugar, Ashesh Mitra and Chitra Mazumdar of Calcutta Art College and Bimal Dasgupta of Delhi College of Art. “I have always been inspired by the ancient parable about acceptance and renunciation. Even though I am not a ritualistic person, it’s the zen thought in what I experience around me that inspires me to paint, whether it’s landscapes from Benaras and Rajasthan and now the lotus.”