Coolie 425, 1994

Airbrush on paper, sold

There are many men wearing red shirts at theNew Delhi train station who work as coolies (porters). They carry luggage for the newly arrived railway passengers. This painting is of one of these coolies. What was surprising about him was that he belonged to the Sikh community. This is very unusual.

This coolie was totally devoted to his work and had no time to look left or right. He knew where he was going and was not bothered about anything else.

I really enjoyed making this portrait because it was very challenging to catch the real feeling of the moment and my emotion when I saw his number 425 before me. That also touched my heart for some reason. I laterlearned that numbers also have a meaning in Indian spirituality and this number is related to the achievement of slow positive change. In this painting I have used many layers of colours. For instanceI used a thin layer of red on the shirt first.  Then I addedmore redin certain areas than others. On top of these layers I used grey layers to express  the flow ofthe coolie’s garment. Likewise,for the turban I used different layers of white, cream, andbrown. For the coolie’s face,I used a real paintbrush instead of airbrushto paint his eyes and skin so as to give life to this portrait.

She’s a Leopard Too: Tapestry

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.