The Best Address

Hema Nalini

Hema Nalini, an Indian artist based in Hyderabad, is an accomplished illustrator and hobbyist photographer. Her vibrant paintings convey powerful messages, while her photography captures nature in its pristine glory. After earning a postgraduate degree in microbiology, a Bachelor’s in Education, and a Diploma in Bioinformatics from IIT Bombay, Hema began her career as a lecturer. However, her love for art led her to leave science and pursue artistry full-time. Her years in the United States further fueled this passion, transforming it into a profession.

Hema has participated in more than 30 group exhibitions, a few art camps, art workshops across well known Art Galleries and several national and international online art exhibitions. She received several mementos and medals for her contribution towards art. She has also worked as an illustrator for the cover page of few literature books in Telugu and even got appreciated by the Vice-President of India, Shri. M. Venkaiah Naidu Garu, for her work.

What’s your artistic background?

Having lived a village life as a child in Andhra Pradesh, I was drawn to nature and loved to spend time in its lap. In my childhood I was interested in drawing faces and figures. As a science student I have improved my drawing and shading techniques along with the skill of observation and practice. Apart from being a topper throughout my academics, I used to participate in various extra curricular activities such as Essay writing, Art, Rangoli etc. competitions and won several prizes and awards.

I was fascinated by the variance of nature in the different places that I had visited and lived in. My passion for painting started during the five years that I spent in the United States of America as I could find different resources and art materials were available in the place we lived i.e, Massachusetts ( New England region) and it was a very beautiful place in all seasons. This passion has turned me into an artist by profession after coming back to India.

What’s integral to the work of an artist?

As I have a keen and deep observation of things on any aspect related to life, I chose to become a Microbiologist. Like we study the basic units of life, in the same way I would like to dig deep into the nature with my brush. I am still in search of that path in the art world where I can put myself on the canvas in my own way.

 What role does the artist have in society?

The artworks created by artists preserve history and cultures over countless generations. Artists are able to convey social messages and can express social issues through their work. They can conduct charity shows and serve the needy. Artists can make use of the latest technology available to upgrade their art and reach people through social media. Artists should focus on addressing the current generation about how to deal with the psychological and emotional ups and downs in any stressful situations of their life.

What art do you most identify with?

I am a self taught artist, interested in creating conceptual, realistic or semi realistic paintings and landscapes. Nature is my muse and I give importance to visual narratives that travel to the hearts of the viewer to be impressed and remembered by.

 What themes do you pursue?

I like to depict nature intimately with a sense of harmony and balance. I used to paint mostly using oils. Later I felt comfortable changing the medium to acrylics. My specialization is in landscapes and they are quite a treasure of tranquility. The vast blues, vivid pinks and meticulous greens make each of my art work a piece of universe in a nutshell and reflect a rare kind of serenity of the land and that makes a profound impact on the viewer.

 What’s your favourite art work?

I like all the art works that give the feeling of meditation and grab the attention of the spectator. Among my art works I love the work ‘Serenity’ that I had to finish in four hours in a live demonstration.

Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?

There are several real life situations that inspired me for painting. I used to be recognized and given the responsibilities of decorations and making signboards during the cultural events of my college or University. I could still remember the appreciation I received when I won the Rangoli competition in which I made a rangoli art with a message of cultural and religious harmony, at the inter University youth festival.

During the pandemic I used to take pictures of the village scenes and stories that I observed around our house and post on social media everyday with the hashtag backyard diaries, which got me self satisfaction and recognition and even gave me an opportunity to enter into photography and i was selected for a national level exhibition.

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?

My educational qualifications include a Post Graduation in Microbiology, Bachelor of Education and a Diploma in Bioinformatics (IIT,Bombay). I worked as a lecturer for B. Sc Microbiology students for some time. It’s would be unfair to not mention about the job of parenting during a break from my lecturer’s job. I could support and encourage both my children to achieve laurels academically. To mention one incident where I accompanied my daughter to Abu Dhabi, who was participating in an international spell bee competition, I could also win a prize for the spell bee competition held for the parents alongside the main event. Though it’s just a fun event for parents, I could relive my student days.

 Why art?

Sometimes I am amazed by the fact that I could recreate the surroundings in the way I imagined and can put forward my thoughts on a canvas in a visual form. I find peace and solace in doing art. Even during my studies I used to spend most of the time working on drawings like botanicals and all other record work which involved drawing. I feel art is the way to uplift and enrich the soul.

What is an artistic outlook on life?

For me art is a wonderful way to escape from day-to-day stressful situations by uplifting the soul. Art gives the courage and the power to deal with people and pressures. We say it’s an artistic way of living life, in the sense that we can see art in every thing we do.

 What memorable responses have you had to your work?

For me, it is wonderful to connect with people through my work. There are several great responses to my work. For instance when I had a doctor’s visit few years ago, Dr. M. S. S. Mukharjee, heart doctor with a genuinely big heart, surprisingly could recognize me by my name as one of my favorite paintings was already owned by him. I was delighted to know that he spends time looking at my painting every day and he specially mentioned about the depth created in the painting. It’s quite encouraging and motivating for me to do more meaningful work in the future.

What food, drink, song inspires you?

I have been listening to Ghazals since my childhood and my favourite singer was Jagjit Singh. His melodious voice filters through like a message descending from the heavens… So divine.

 Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

I prefer creating art or reading amidst nature as I always used to sit under a tree and read during my childhood. Sometimes I used to go to the fields to read as I had the belief that learning languages is faster there when compared to at home. There’s always a sense of security and solace in the lap of mother nature. When painting, I am more myself and feel that I am surrounded by the elements that I represent there.

What do you dislike about the art world?

I don’t have much information in this regard, but often hear about the aspects like no transparency in primary pricing, art prices heterogeneity, inequities etc. As far as my knowledge goes, marketing and selling is an entirely different and difficult task than making art.

 What do you dislike about your work?

As everyone says that I am a perfectionist, I am seldom satisfied with the results while painting. In that process, I overdo sometimes and regret that I should have stopped long before. The process of painting is physically demanding and it’s a bit stressful gathering resources, planning and dealing with the deadlines. But at the end, the results are always gratifying. Art is a continuous learning process. If you want to get better, you have to be both honest and optimistic at the same time.

 What do you like about your work?

I like to play with colours taking care of composition to narrate a theme or a story with a message, at the same time concentrating on the visual appeal. It’s encouraging to receive appreciation for my work from visitors and other artists whenever I participate in an exhibition. I always invite any kind of constructive criticism which I believe, will help me grow further.

Should art be funded?

Yes. Fine Arts play a major role in the development of any nation therefore the government should contribute towards its development by taking the funding of arts as its moral responsibility. This funding will stimulate the growth of the industry hence economic growth and development.

What role does arts funding have?

Overall, funding for the arts is essential for nurturing creativity, preserving culture, stimulating economic growth, and promoting social well-being. By supporting the arts, communities can enrich their cultural life, foster creativity and innovation, and create a more vibrant and inclusive society.

 What is your dream project?

My dream project is to represent myself in my paintings depicting experiences that I spent in my childhood.

 Favourite or most inspirational place?

My village in Andhra Pradesh, India, where I grew up is my favorite place. The beautiful variance in seasons of Massachusetts, USA where I lived for few years also inspired me to do landscapes.

 What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

My aunt taught me to be humble and honest in all walks of life, the results will automatically follow you. One of my faculty during my graduation once told me, ‘You have lots of talents and are a hidden gem. Don’t block your sparkle and let it shine.’

Professionally, what’s your goal?

To carve a niche for myself in the field of art.

 Future plans?

I am planning to launch a website for my works to be displayed. I am already into article writing as I published few of my articles related to science to satisfy my scientific temperament. I may plan for a blog writing in that aspect.



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