Three artists embrace the delight of nature, turning it into works of art... In doing so, they share the poignant message that life is a beautiful garden that blooms in all circumstances, at all times.
Shibani Mitra - visual artist, Puducherry
“When I was a child, I hated flowers, and especially disliked the colour pink. In fact, I hated being a girl! But as I outgrew my tomboy phase and widened my understanding of femininity and feminism, I realised that liking things that women are associated with doesn’t make me weak.... In fact, it was internalised misogyny. So, I opened up to flowers and included them in my art. I was surprised to see what an agent of communication they were. Flowers gave me the ability to say something strong with such gentleness. The first time I created art with flowers was for my mother.
She came from a village called Sorag in Uttarakhand where menstruating women were not allowed to enter the house. They stayed in the cow shed and weren’t allowed to touch anyone during that time. So I used flowers on my body to speak about the ignorance around menstruation in our country. For this image, I wanted to convey a sense of joy... it is something I tend to feel once the moment has passed. I’ve observed that the more I scrutinise the emotion at the moment, the more it becomes a performance. But when happiness enters through the tiny moments of life, when I don’t even know I’m experiencing it—like when I’m drinking tea with my mother or making the bed in the morning with my lover—it embraces me like a breeze and leaves me spellbound.”
Caroline Joseph - photographer and stylist, Kochi
“Flowers remind me of my childhood, of my grandmother collecting fresh flowers and arranging them around the house. To me, they signify the blooming of life, a celebration of sorts because they blossom in all circumstances. I began creating self-portraits with flowers during the lockdowns... Mama Earth had shut us out for a good couple of months, and I heard her wake-up call. I try to make sure that she knows I care. Over time, my experiments grew into a personal project with the beautiful flora I found at my grandmother’s home and wild shrubs growing on the side-path outside my house. I think the most beautiful things in life are the ones we don’t see; the ones we don’t take the time out for. This project changed exactly that. I started to notice art in the everyday... I find joy in the little things and embrace them with my being.”
Poonam Bisht - illustrator and animator, Delhi
“For me, flowers represent the circle of life, strength, and resilience... They leave a trail of fragrance and beauty even after being plucked, and they try to survive in the most unfavorable of environments. The first time I created art with flowers was during the first lockdown when the situation was so helpless... The resilience of flowers inspired me to keep myself going through the difficult and uncertain times. Spring came and went, but as much as I wanted to, I could not go out in nature like I used to before the lockdown. So, I used the flowers growing in my own garden to feel closer to nature. I strongly believe in self-love and the wonders it can do for you. When I use flowers on my face and in my hair, it makes me feel one with nature. Like the flowers, I feel like I’m blooming too. Flowers have changed the way I see myself and my own beauty. They give me hope.”