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‘Painting Is The Way To Find & Create Light In Her Life’ 

Indian Masterminds Stories

The universe is infinite, and so are the possibilities to explore it. Some choose the path of spirituality to explore the universe and purpose of life. For some, the path of art and creativity leads them towards that. Here is a person who might have been a bureaucrat by profession but she found the meaning of life through her painting. We are talking about a former IRS officer of the 1988 batch, Ms. Neena Singh, who is an internationally acclaimed artist and has been part of various national & international exhibitions. 

It is a voyage to find her inner self. She wants to break free of every boundary and express herself through her paintings.  The past two decades of experience in learning & creating have enabled her to do so. 

In a conversation with Indian Masterminds, Ms. Singh shares her journey of becoming an artist and finding serenity through her paintings. “Creating art has enabled me to extend my being from a seeker of light to becoming a creator of light as well. I want to create a space of my own within this universe where I can breathe fresh air. It gives me immense joy to share that light with all art lovers through my work”, said Ms. Singh. 

She has been part of various shows and exhibitions in India and abroad, including the Harmony Art Show (Mumbai), Flight of Equality at Aparna Caur Art Gallery (Delhi), the 53rd and 54th National Exhibitions, Lalit Kala Akademi (New Delhi), and the Women Essence Show at MUSA International Art Space, Berlin, in 2023. 

MOTHER IS MY INSPIRATION 

Drawing and painting have always been part of Ms. Singh’s life. She liked it so dearly that she chose it as a subject for classes 10 and 12. In hindsight, when she looks back, she feels it came through her mother. Her mother was not a professional painter but was creative. A paper and pen were enough for her to draw and express. “When I was in college, she used to send postcards to me. Each one of them had some paintings and drawings. I loved to see them. It was a way to feel her close to me.”.

Besides art, Ms. Singh was also interested in literature and chose it as a subject for graduation. Later on, she went to JNU for a Master’s in Sociology. In between those years, she distanced herself from paintings. Life took a turn, and she gave the UPSC CSE and cleared the exam in 1987 to join the IRS (Income Tax). 

ART HELPED IN SAILING THROUGH POWER CORRIDORS 

It was not easy to keep up with official work and her exploration. However, she would sneak some time out of it to paint and also for literature. “I was reading and writing. Slowly, I realized that, though words are powerful, it is easy to be dishonest with them. I got disconnected from that medium, and then paintings were the only way to express myself,” said Ms. Singh.

It was already 1998–2000 when she picked up painting again. She was a mother of two daughters and had so much experience. While she was a late bloomer and not trained, her art came with immense force due to her vast experience. She was drawn to abstract form, and it was a spiritual experience to explore colors & forms. In 2004, she applied for an exhibition at Jehangir Art Gallery (Mumbai) and was selected. There is a long waiting line, so her first work was presented in 2006. Ms. Singh says that it is not easy to articulate in words, but art does something for her. 

When asked about how she managed her job and painting together, she said, “People who are into art or any creativity are perceived to be non-serious with their job. It has been a source of rejuvenation for me. Painting helped me get through the most challenging time in my career; it helped me remove clutter from my head and make a decision. It has sustained me and helped me sail through the corridors of power.”.

It has been a source of everything she values in life and has given her calmness & energy. 

QUEST OF FINDING INNER-SELF 

Nature and its five elements (air, water, sky, fire, and earth) are constants in her paintings. She has an intimate relationship with nature, which can be seen in her work. Ms. Singh, who is a big fan of abstract art, likes to explore the themes of transformation, renewal, and transcendence through her paintings. Ms. Neena Singh wants to test the limits of each color on her canvas. The former officer is fascinated with how color and its variants can be different in each form. 

She has found a way to understand life through her art and wants to learn more. “I can live my life again through my paintings. I have been painting for 20-25 years. Earlier it used to be very dark and slowly it has moved towards light. It was my quest to find and create light through my work”, she concludes. 


Indian Masterminds Stories

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