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artist profile: archna jaideep singh

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Turbulence (detail)I had never visualised that one day I would be a full time artist. I did my Master of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Rajasthan in 1979 and then joined the Jawaharlal Nehru University for the Master of Philosophy degree in International Studies which I completed in 1982.

I was born in Rajasthan, a princely state in India, on 19 October 1958. As a child and as a young adolescent, painting came naturally to me and was a major passion. Rajasthan is the most colorful and vibrant state in India. On special occasions which seemed to occur everyday we used to make beautiful designs to adorn the walls, floors and ceilings of our homes in a fashion similar to what are generally known as murals. It was the most exciting part of my childhood and adolescent years.

In my school years, Drawing and Painting was one of my major subjects. In 1973, I had my first solo exhibition and my first two group exhibitions in Rabindra Art Gallery, Jaipur, Rajasthan. My other two major subjects were English Literature and Sanskrit. In the high school examination in 1974, I came first among over 30,000 girls in Rajasthan and for the next six years I received the prestigious National Merit Scholarship for my academic studies.

The Look (detailIn 1981, I was struck with a serious illness which made me physically very weak and fragile to the degree that my existence was in question. This phase made me redefine my life's priorities and direction. During my illness phase (1981 to 1988) painting became first a source of therapy and then a full time pursuit. In my experience, when someone goes through so much suffering the desire to live is sustained by creating a beautiful inner landscape where exploration knows no boundaries. Art became my identity and a means for the celebration of life in spite of suffering. Since then my central purpose is to create beauty in our times when ugliness and crassness have almost become a cult.

In March 1982, I got married. My husband, Jaideep Singh, who is Professor of Behavioral Sciences at the Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi encouraged me and nurtured my artistic flow.

In 1989-90, I did a Diploma in Photography from Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi and I topped the class of about fifty students. My area of specialisation is historical monuments.

In 1992, I had another solo public exhibition of my oil on canvas female nudes in Masterpiece Art Gallery in New Delhi. It was an extremely successful exhibition which brought me into the limelight in the Indian art scene. Simultaneously, however, my paintings were labelled as controversial by some art critics and condemned by others because I was painting nudes.

Essence (detail)Subsequently, I made my living room into a private gallery for art lovers and collectors and engaged in private showings and sales. Last year, from 20th April to 9th May, 1998, I had another public exhibition at the L.T.G. Art Gallery in New Delhi. This time I modified my strategy and along with female nudes I displayed my abstracts as well. The appreciation was encouraging and heartwarming.

Since 1992 I have been featured in many leading newspapers and magazines and have been often interviewed on radio and television. A documentary film made on me by TVI (TV International) was shown many times on this channel and also, on some occasions, by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Apart from painting and photography, my other interests include english and contemporary american literature, the art of film making, wild life conservation, occult, travel, meeting interesting people and having good friends all over the world.

My goal in life is to pursue my art relentlessly. My desire is to ceaselessly evolve and enrich my inner being and to create unique and timeless art which surpasses all manmade divisions and boundaries.

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