Sushma Jain’s solo art exhibit captures the quintessential beauty of the wild

Pursuing one’s calling is an ageless affair and Sushma Jain’s first solo exhibit at the Jehangir Art Gallery in Kalaghoda, Mumbai just goes to show that the 60-year-old, for whom her easel and her colours have held magic and passion ever since she was a little girl, this is only the beginning.[/vc_column_text]

The opening night of A Tale Untold, Jain’s collection of oils on canvas, was a glitzy affair with Nita and Mukesh Ambani lighting the inaugural lamp amidst a large gathering of industrialists and art enthusiasts. Nita Ambani, who shares a 33 year long friendship with the artist, said on the occasion that while to the world Jain’s art career marks it beginning today, for her, Sushma’s creativity has always reflected in her life, be it the days when she was winning medals for her work in school and college or her generous help with the kids’ art projects.

For years, even as her focus was on her children and family, Jain held on to her passion and cultivated her talent, Nita Ambani said. The several holidays that the families took in the wild together were always captured by Jain with her camera and her photographic paintings in the exhibit are a reflection of the tranquility that she experienced on these journeys.

Jain has been an animal lover since her childhood and after her lens caught the fascinating life of the jungle on several trips to the forests of Gir, Ranthambore and Africa, she decided to go ahead and recreate those memories on her canvas. Be it the Satiated, a magnificent tiger gulping a drink at the pond or the Maternal Instinct, featuring a leopard with her cubs, her work draws from the simplistic beauty and pristine landscapes, raw and untouched by human intervention.

The exhibit, which is set to be on display from 22 to 27 August, attracted a large crowd on its opening ceremony, and some of the paintings were sold just in the first few hours of the evening. A mother duck and her ducklings treading through the water, boats moored on a wharf and a house amidst pine trees nestled in the snow are some of her works through which she attempts to showcase journeys undertaken or ones that are about to commence. Human figures are sparse in her lifelike portraits, yet in works like Dalliances With Nature, one can see the lone surfer battling the tumultuous waves of the ocean. In One With Nature, another surfer is depicted walking along the beach with the soft waters grazing his feet.

Animals — elephants, zebras and giraffes — and a solitary bird are ample in her collection. “The exhibition is an opportunity for me to present these beautiful wild animals in their natural environment and sensitise the viewers to the importance of wildlife protection and conservation,” Jain says.

“Similarly, I wanted to present landscapes that are unspoiled, which again drive home the point of being conscious about our natural resources. Painting wildlife has given me joy because when I paint animals I feel like they are speaking to me, that I can trust them, feel them and become friends with them, and today I get to share all my friends with you,” she adds, talking about her works.

For years, she acted as the support system for her husband (industrialist Anand Jain) and her children, helping them chase their dreams, but it was now her moment to shine, her moment to be in the spotlight, Jain’s son Harsh said on the evening.

“She is an inspiration to mothers, wives and now even grandmothers,” he added.

Reliance Industries Executive Director Nikhil Meswani, Akash Ambani and his fiancee Shloka Mehta, and Eram Group Chairman Vallabh Bhansali also attended the inauguration.

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