“ I am fascinated by an artistic process, especially in the field of visual arts. To discover a process and to be able to apply it in a creation is my mantra for purposeful living. And sharing my discovery with others through workshops, talks, classes and exhibitions gives me immense satisfaction!”
Tell us a bit about yourself, your family?
After my marriage to a banker, I moved to Singapore in 2005. My family had grown to include two children and we settled down to work in Singapore. I worked briefly with Ernst & Young, Singapore before making a big decision to pursue art dedicatedly. I Co-Founded an arts Company in 2014 and continue as a Director, Corporate & Community Projects, Strokearts Studio Pte Ltd. I feel fulfilled to a certain degree and yet have ambition to do more and better for the Indian Art scene in Singapore.
How did you transition from a corporate world to entrepreneurial world?
My entrepreneurial journey began with the forming of an arts company in 2014. While there were many artists who operated at an individual level, I was interested in creating an organization that would allow a multi-dimensional approach to arts education. It would result not only in reaching out to a small number of students who would come for learning, but would have the potential to reach out to local audience in the form of workshops, community engagements and an opportunity to create an awareness for Indian Art. It was a deep learning curve where there was no support group other than self being a unique business and infrastructure that had to be created before it could operate. The buck started and stopped with self!
While a corporate working life would have been a successful one, entrepreneurship allowed me to follow my passion. And enjoy the learning.
As someone who never had any formal training in art, how did you go about establishing yourself and make a place for yourself
There is no one school or style of Indian visual art that is considered purely classical, but it is often described as folk art. These styles such as Madhubani, Warli, Kalamkari et al are utilitarian and hence labeled ‘Arts & Crafts’ since colonial times. The training for these styles is also a tradition-based learning that is passed on from one generation to another or from one teacher to a student in a personal transfer of technique. Hence, the experience in creating the works of art over years usually is considered invaluable as well as finding teachers of these styles. I have received individual training from Ms. Kavita Deuskar, Dean, JNU Hyderabad. Having said that, to be able to qualify as an artist and practice in Singapore, I completed a Certificate Course in Western Art from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA).
With this double training, I have not only been able to create an awareness and appreciation for Indian Visual Art, especially Folk-Art Painting of India but been able to present them in context of how it relates to concepts in Western Art. A unique perspective is something which I have been able to offer in explaining the influence of Indian Art in ASEAN countries.
This kind of research was put across in two books I have authored, and which are published in Singapore.
What were some of the challenges you faced on your journey?
The biggest challenge in terms of continuity in the last two years has of course been the impact of Covid-19 on business. The lack of face-to-face events, classes, workshops, and lessons compounded with high rentals had a deep adverse effect on financial health of the firm. Adapting overnight to virtual lessons, workshops, and digitalization of operations to serve the need to work from home presented a huge challenge.
If you have to give one piece of advice to someone who’s looking to reinvent themselves, what will that be?
Re-inventing is a necessary exercise that almost everyone must undertake from time to time in their personal as well as professional life. Whether one changes from the role of a single person to being a committed partner, being a parent or being a grandparent, the process of reinventing is constantly happening. Similarly in a professional capacity too we are required to adapt or be left out. Necessity is the mother of (re)invention. As the world shrinks in terms of globalisation, earlier ideas of appropriate work roles have become greatly challenged. Having only a few skill sets is detrimental to growth and showing capability of learning new skills becomes a ‘must have’ in a resume.
Reinvent and evolve to remain relevant.
To know more about Kumuda and Strokearts:
Achievements & Awards:
Panellist at Indian Women’s Association- Entrpreuner Club- ‘Women Entrepreuners Achievers Event’ 2016