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Arpana Caur interviewed by Sasha, a student of British School Delhi (2004)
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Arpana Caur interviewed by Sasha, a student of British School Delhi (2004)

Arpana Caur, a self taught artist, who was offered a scholarship at saint martins London), but returned without completing the course is a leading indian artist. a huge work of hers was commissioned by the Hiroshima museum to mark the 50th anniversary of the nuclear holocaust.
Many of her paintings include scissors and an extended hand! Ever wondered why? the scissors are a metaphor of time, capable of snipping man's fate! The extended hand is used to symbolize the strength and power of a woman! 

What inspired you to become and artist, did you always want to be one?
I was actually scared to be an artist as I thought my work was no good! However I loved to paint and wanted to continue as a hobby. I learned many other forms of art such as playing the sitar , and the kathak dance, but painting gave me the most pleasure and satisfaction. I became an artist due to circumstances!
 
How long have you been painting for?
I have been painting ever since I was three years old! I started participating in group shows when I was 18 and have been exhibiting my work since I was 20.
 
If one wants to become an artist, do you think formal education is necessary or can one be self taught?
I feel for painting atleast, formal education is not necessary, its your passion and commitment for art that matters!
 
What do you want your personal contribution to be to the world of art , or what do you want to be remembered as ?
There has always been a philosophical meaning to my paintings, and I wish to reflect both the old and new of India through my paintings.
 
What topics have you painted on and which is dearest to you?
I have painted  a series of paintings on a number of topics, which include
Environment
communal violence
Hiroshima
spiritual personalities – Kabir , Buddha and Nanak
women issues
time  and life
collaboration of folk
Does your institute offer any training for art students?
Yes apart from art classes we offer free classes to the underprivileged  in Hindi English , embroidery , pottery and painting. The basement of the institute is dedicated to this cause. ( it seems to be quite a success , as the Saturday morning I went for the interview , the basement was filled with about 75 women and children!)
 
Do you feel Indian art has become too commercial?
Yes,  it has definitely become very commercial!
 
There are many fakes circulating the market, how do you think artists can control this?
It is not the job of the artists! We put all our time and effort into creating our work. The government should set up a legal cell and put an end to the problem.
Do you  get good art material in Delhi? Where from?
I think Camlin products are the best , weather oils or other colors. They have a retail shop in Defense colony where I frequently buy material from!
 
Lastly , any advice to students who aspire to become artists?
Well , you  have to make a lot of sacrifices , so be ready for that! Also, its important that you develop a style of your own and not copy another artists. Try not have too many expectations as it’s a long and hard journey!

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