Art captures India’s true essence on canvas

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EXPLORING the extraordinary world of India that incorporates a creative burst of cultures, religions, races and tongues, Pippa Lea Pennington’s exhibition A Trip to India is on display at the Tamasa Gallery until the end of the month.

Portraying her experience in the beautiful land, Pennington has created detailed paintings that capture the rich inheritance of the Indian culture.

In an interview with Tonight, Pennington explained what A Trip to India represents.

“The exhibition is the culmination of two years’ work. I tried to give the viewer a sense of the wonder I felt when I was there. India is almost overwhelming in its assault on the senses – one is engulfed in colour, light and adornment of every kind,” said Pennington.

“There is a very strong sense that this is an ancient culture that has remained miraculously intact even in the chaos of the 21st century. There is still so much traditional culture that is being produced in very much the same way as it always has been, and by the same families. I found it inspiring and humbling.

“As in life, and in so many countries (ours in particular), India is faced with so much adversity yet somehow there is still so much beauty there. I think we need to be reminded of beauty and the incredible resilience of the human spirit. India does this!”

Her preferred medium is oils, but she also uses pastels, watercolour , drawing ink and pencils. It was after her schooling that Pennington realised she had found her true passion.

“I became completely immersed in it from the beginning and have been working ever since. When I was at school, I would be either drawing or reading instead of learning – not a good example, I know,” she laughed.

Like all artists, Pennington has also had to overcome obstacles to get to where she is today.

“I did art at school, so I suppose my first ‘proper’ painting was the one I did for my matric art practical. I loved it at the time, but looking back I think it was quite strange. My teacher hated it and told me I had no hope of ever being an artist. I have enjoyed proving her wrong.

“I think my biggest challenge was finding a way to be a mother and an artist, as both jobs require a lot of time and energy and I wanted to do them both in the very best way I could. It took me a long time after my children were born to have an exhibition (although I never stopped working), but as they grow up and I have more and more time in my studio and I think the experience has given me a depth creatively I wouldn’t have had otherwise. They are continually inspiring and are my best audience.”

Pennington hopes to return to India to learn traditional Indian miniature painting from a reputable artist. She also wants to continue to work and keep growing as an artist.

• A Trip To India runs until June 29 at the Tamasa Gallery, 36 Overport Drive. For more information call 031 207 1223.


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