I have exhibited all over Europe and my work is represented in private collections across the world. I exhibit regularly with other artists and was for many years in England a selected artist and member of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts.
Art Is Life, Life Is Art
Nalini Shanthi Cook had a major exhibition of her art at the Meghraj Art Gallery, Holborn in London.Â
Here she talks to the magazine "Jain Spirit " about the inspiration for her work.
I was a teacher of art for many years in schools and colleges, and then I became a manager of art, and later an inspector. I visited Further education colleges and judged the standard of art . That's one side of my life - the other side is being a practising artist, which I've always been for as long as I can remember. I was a sculptor for a while, using all sorts of materials. In the last few years I have come back to painting. I think a lot of the sculptural influence has come through in the painting because of the materials I use. I don't use traditional oil, or traditional watercolour. I mix all sorts of materials and work them into a lot of layers to create a texture. For example, you'll find paintings which have oil paint, stains, ochre from the earth, found materials, photographs, remnants, collage. All sorts of elements go into the painting to give it layers and depth. For example , see painting " Dazzle"
Whilst in Spain I learned to dance Flamenco for five years. This influenced my figure paintings which became more flamboyant in colour and movement. See painting " red shoe" "bailaora con chal"
How do you choose the subjects for your paintings?
The inspiration comes from what I see in my travels. I travel around the world a lot: I've been to India, Italy, Australia, France, Morocco and Sri Lanka, Spain and many other places. The inspiration comes from the landscape and the peoples of different countries and different cultures. I take photograph s and sketches when I am travelling abroad, and then when I'm back home, I re-create some of those images which I believe have a universal feel. I have lived in Spain now for 10 years and my work is strongly influenced by the landscape and light around me. The painting "red desert white light" illustrates the painterly love of ochre desert and spiritual white light. Many things that come from what I see in landscapes become universal images that represent life and spirit. Natural forms in the desert, landscape and sea, stones, rocks that are very solid and stable in what is an unstable society - this is the stability of nature making life possible. See painting "Red desert white heat"
The figures and portraits in my work are icons and carnival masks. The icons are directly influenced by early Christian and Byzantine images. The masks from Italian carnival. The icons represent gentle spirituality and the carnival masks, masquerade and hidden desires. The mask and icon are like two sides of a coin, what we strive to be and what we are in reality. See paintings "Eyes Wide Shut", "You're so vain", "carnival " and " Freedom denied"
Would you say that your work is a bridge between East and West?
Yes, but the fusion is unconscious, because I don't aim to be either. What I create is what I believe is my persona and what is inside me. I think the West is very strong, from the way I've been brought up, lived here and worked in England, but I also have roots in the East. This filters through the work unconsciously. It is not a conscious "I will be an Eastern Painter" - it comes through from the my roots and the beautiful frescos and textiles I see in the East. For example, the Sygiria frescoes in Sri Lanka, the Ajhanta caves, Persian miniature paintings - all those images are below the surface. The influences surface in my work, for example, in the strong decorative borders in many of the paintings and the iconic frescos.
See paintings: "Freedom Denied" "Lovers", "Cinnamon and Saffron"
I notice your style can be slightly abstract or surreal
The recent paintings have become more surreal, I would say than abstract. They are images that are recognisable but that are set in an unreal context. They are not immediately recognisable as a landscape you would see in a photograph. The colours are very much influenced by two of my favourite artists Matisse and Howard Hodgkin, both very strong colourists. The colours I use are earthy colours - ochre , which is actually mined from the ground. The natural ochre creates the very warm glow of the paintings. I use very warm, evocative colours from the East and the Mediterranean countries.
Some of my most recent paintings are subliminal. It is a great release from formal painting techniques to allow latent images to manifest in any form or colour.
See painting : "Triplets
If you want to see more work or contact Nalini , please visit her website: www.nalinigallery.yolasite.com email: bas_nal@
current employment: practicing artist in Spainprevious employment:teacher, lecturer of arts; HMI inspector of Art and DesignQualifications: B.ED First Class honours in Art and Education; Certificate in Education A selection of exhibitions The Pankhurst gallery, ManchesterThe Hanover gallery, LiverpoolThe Black Sheep gallery, North WalesMeghraj gallery, LondonBhavran centre fot Indian art and culture, LondonPicadilly gallery, LondonBrian Boyes gallery, RossendaleBroughton House gallery, CambridgeHotel Ibis, ParisKtisis Gallery, LiverpoolStutgart, mixed exhibition with 8 artists from north west EnglandOlgivy and Estell Gallery, Conway, WalesMillfield, Somerset, prize winner)Academy of Art, Liverpool ( prize winner)St Helenss College,( prize winner) Manchester Academy of Fine Arts, Cortijo Del cerro, SpainResaurante Italia,Antequera, SpainClinca Dental, Villanueva De La Concepcion, Spain,
private collections: America, Spain, England, Sri Lanka, India, Africa, Germany , Australia
member : Andalusian International artists AIA 2010- 2012
Axarquia art 2012-
La Fuente del Sol, La Hoya 2008-2011
Restaurante Italia, Antequera 2007-2009
Villaueva d la Concepcion 2008-2010
Posada del Torcal, Villanueva De la Concepcion 2006-2008
International Arts festival, Marbella 2010
Gallery Lucia, Fuengirola, 2010, 2011
Gallery Jinete,Cala de Mijas, 2010, 2011
Sala de Actos, Malaga, 2010
Dibleys Gallery, Cala de Mijas 2011
Sala de Exposiciones, V. De la Concepcion 2011
Galeria Etnigrafico, Riogordo 2011
The Kanneltalon Galleria, Klaneettitie, Helsinki Dec. 2011
Parador Antequera, 2012
Museo Etnigrafico, Riogordo 2012
Danish Clinic, Benadmadena 2012
Antequera hospital 2012
Restaurant Canadu, Vegetarian ,Malaga 2012
Parador Antequera March 8- May 8, September- November 2011
Museo Etnografico , Riogordo July, October
selected finalist : Jan. 2012 Saatchi online collage competition with the collage "Lovers" in the Indian collection.
Feb.2013 selected finalist " There is no looking back" Morocco collection
July 2013: selected fnalist " Je ne regret rien" sublminal collection
Saatchi online: sale of painting " triplets" subliminal collection to a collector in Chicago, America
Palm Art award, Germany: "certificate of exellence" 2013 for painting "Aurora" Morocco collection
Ayuntamiento , Rincon de la Victoria 11 January- 8 February
Ruta de Arte, Cadiz, Sotogrande 15 March- 25 August