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Shobha Broota Finds Beauty in the Spare and Simple

Jun/06/2022 / by Preetam Kaushik
Image courtesy of DAG

Shobha Broota is a proponent of abstract art from a time there were hardly any women artists in the genre. A trained musician with a degree in art, she blends the two worlds seamlessly in her works, every one having a rhythmic element juxtaposed against an unusual choice of colors.

Though Broota started in art by dabbling in different genres and mediums, it was the abstract that drew and held her attention. Portraits of men and women, woodcuts, etchings, and relief works have all been part of her celebrated oeuvre. Over the years, Broota has fine-tuned her art, leaving no room for hesitancy.

She has said she does not plan her paintings in advance. Instead, she contemplates in silence before a blank canvas before applying the colors – layering and merging, till suddenly it is complete. Broota describes the process as a form of meditation wherein she approaches the blank canvas with a mind that is clean and uncluttered.

In a recent interview to an online news organization, Broota calls art her hobby.

“Art is a very serious hobby because it gives us more than money,’ she said. “We receive peace of mind, happiness, and satisfaction so I think of art like that.”

Simplicity Speaking Volumes

Broota’s works are distinguished by their play of colors infused with the life force. The dot, or bindu, is an integral part of her art, and features in many of her notable pieces. If in one artwork uses the dot to represent a pulsating force radiating outwards with musical cadence, in others it is depicted as a series of rhythmic lines flowing towards a source of energy.

Critics have compared her works to waves of music showcasing her discipline and effort. On one hand, you have minimal simplicity; on the other is the complexity with which she sees the world.

In “Origin,” a series of works she began in the 1980s, the theme covering two decades is an abstract rendition of a source of power that attracts everything towards it.

Towards The Oblivion, 1983 (image courtesy of DAG World)

“Edge of Infinity,” “Song of the Divine,” “Path Beyond,” and “Music of the Spheres” are some of Broota’s notable solo exhibitions. Her works stand apart with their soothing sensibility and powerful blends, rather than primary shades or colors.

Broota often uses different yarns and nets in her work, though she also prefers knotted threads and knitted designs.

Artistic Background

Born into an artistic family, it was no surprise when Broota secured a diploma from the College of Art, Delhi, in 1964. Broota teaches at Triveni Kala Sangam, Delhi, and is married to artist Rameshwar Broota. Her daughter Pooja Iranna and son-in-law G R Iranna are also artists.

Broota’s works are on display at exhibitions across the world. Some of her finest works are showcased at national galleries in India and Malaysia. She has conducted several workshops over the decades, and her work has won recognition from the Indian government. She was also invited by the Guyanese government to paint the portrait of former president Chaddi Jagan.

She has also demonstrated her prowess as a writer by co-authoring a book, “Vesture of Being,” with eminent the late art critic Keshav Malik.

Unfazed by accolades and awards, Broota continues to forge ahead with her work that conveys the essence of life.

Shobha Broota is currently one of the many South Asian artists on display in DAG NYC, be sure to check her work out there!