Bird Woman (2010), 4.5×4.5 ft
Oil and acrylic paint on canvas, sold
This painting is about freedom, who is being lifted up in the sky? Is it the birds or is Bird Woman lifting the birds. It does not matter, they are all happy, flying up and away, free.
I had seen the lady who inspired this painting in the Netherlands, she was from Suriname. It was their national day and she wore her traditional costume, which was very imaginative. I include a photo of this woman here. Every part of the net of her dress moved differently as she walked. I loved that and was inspired to make this painting.
If you look carefully at how the Bird Woman in the painting looks, you can see that her mouth is like a bird’s beak. Note that she has bird like eyes (her pupils are enlarged). Observe that she is about to break free from the cage in which she encased, that is from her net dress.
I love the singing of birds and the way they dance like acrobats in the sky. I observe the little aviators every day. There are many birds where I live. New Delhi is home to over 300 bird species and some are quite exotic. On a regular day I can see the flash of a bright blue Kingfisher. It is not unusual to see a yellow jacket woodpecker with its red hat, a bird of paradise and dancing peacocks. We should not forget the owls at night and the big bats swooping up and down.
This was one of the first paintings where I used the combination of oil paint and acrylic. I was slowly experimenting to see how I could stop using oil paints.
I had suffered with sinus and skin allergies for many years and was finally diagnosed as allergic to turpentine. Unfortunately, it is absolutely necessary to use turpentine when making oil paintings. Imagine the many years that I suffered and continued painting with oils without any idea that my illnesses were due to my profession as an artist. It did not help that, as part of my second profession, I had a garment factory where plenty of lint floated in the air.
A close friend of the family, a dietician, knew more about me than a regular doctor and mentioned that she thought my allergies were due to the paint that I used. I started ventilating my studio and using less oil paint. My allergies then started to improve dramatically but never stopped completely.
My mother, who is a tapestry weaver, really liked this painting. She made a beautiful tapestry based on it that is just the same size as the original. It is included here.