The young and beautiful Shantala Palat brings a rare sensitivity to her canvases. The Luxury Chronicle takes pride in bringing to the fore the works of this immensely talented artist, whose art exhibition,“Imagine If” was held recently at the Hamra centre, the West Torrens Library, Adelaide, Australia. Even as we go to press with her interview post the Adelaide exhibition, the artist is visiting New Delhifor her upcoming exhibition ‘When Dreams Awaken’, at the India International Center, which will be on from 16th -19th January, 2014.
We have followed the transitory patterns and influences in Shantala’s journey as a painter this far. We bring here for our readers, the excerpts from the interview with the artist, along with pictures of her works.
What made you choose the themes of the Mughal miniatures and animation films in your work?
Well, before I get to your question, let me give you a quick background as to how it all started. While, studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I took a class with Barbara Rossi. She showed us slides of artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo and the composite animal paintings of the Mughal miniatures. Those slides had a huge impact on me for these artists stepped outside the traditional framework of painting and used their imagination to run amok or in wild, unexpected directions. I think, coming in contact with the Mughal composite paintings, was a turning point for me.
On the other hand, I had been painting abstract landscape paintings where my colours were inspired by the animation films, especially “ My Little Pony” of the 1980s and Walt Disney productions.
With these two different sources, I wanted to combine them in a form of a narrative where the story or the character is not quite what it is supposed to be.
It was a way to test our existing perceptions of the world and realize that it could be subtle or surprising. I wanted the work to puzzle and engage the viewer in conversations with it.
I know this is a clichéd question but I am curious to know about your thoughts. Is it more like a blend of the East and the West then?
(smiles) : I knew this question would come up! Well, yes, in a way, as I am marrying American cartoons with the world I am familiar with, in my own country (India). But if you notice, I make a conscious effort not to adhere strictly to the formats of either worlds but rather take the main essence of both in my work. Let’s call them my inspirational sources and with the help of these guides, I attempt to create a whole new world of my own where imagination and colour runs riot and narratives that are seemingly inexplicable or mysterious.
While living in Australia, did you draw any inspiration from your surroundings or from your interactions with the locals? Are they reflected in some way in your work as well?
Hmm… to an extent, I would say. Since my childhood was decked with being in constant touch with Nature, I searched for them in thelandscapes of Australia. It is a beautiful country and when the summer visits her, the whole world is transformed by shadows and light. Everything has a new and altered existence. Funnily, they remind me also of the animation films in a way- especially the shapes and the colours. And sometimes I wonder whether we actually live in an animated world! As for the locals, I would say that the exhibitions and the gallery shows I visit, it is those interactions with the artists, which have had an impact on my work.
What are your plans after this exhibition? Will we see you in India anytime?
Yes, in fact I have an upcoming show opening on 15th January 2014 in Delhi. It is an extension of my existing work and here, I have used other media such as ink, acrylic, watercolor and gouache as well.
Some of the newer works have been emerged from one of my mini sculptures, which I made in Australia. Post-exhibition, I was exploring new ways of looking at the themes with a new eye. This odd creature with his long nose and pear-shaped body gradually grew in my dreams and soon became a stubborn fixture during the day. The creature (I still do not have a name for him) persisted in my waking hours that I was finally compelled to place him on paper! Yet he is a comforting presence in whatever place he inhabits. So you will see him running all over the place or sometimes, simply sitting and pondering in deep thought.
I plan to continue to work on these series for some years. I want to explore these themes in other disciplines such as printmaking, illustration and perhaps animation. I also want to write a book about my creature for children as well. So it’s a matter of deciding which one to attack for future projects.
Shantala, it has been nice talking to you and learning about your art processes as well. It is also interesting to see how these sources influence your work and I hope you continue to explore them.
Thank you. It has been a pleasure to talk to you about my work.
About The Painter –
Shantala Palat has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from LSR, Delhi, India and Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago, USA. She is the Merit Scholarship Recipient from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA and the winner of the Nippon Steel Award, School of The Art Institute of Chicago, USA .
She also has a post graduate diploma in Special Education and has worked as an associate special educator with the Spastics Society of North India, Delhi.
Her interests include films and writing. She attended a Film Appreciation course held by film scholars and critics, Ira Bhaskar and her colleagues in India. While yet an undergrad, she won the Principal’s Award for promoting cine literacy at LSR, India.