Artist Nita Banerji has spent the last three decades perfecting her art. Having recently turned 75 doesn’t deter her. She continues to churn out breathtaking pictures of landscapes, monuments, and still life. Her pictures are so exquisitely realistic that you could be forgiven for thinking they are photographs, not paintings.
Realistic art in this era? You might wonder if that’s quite the in thing these days. But being politically correct—or artistically correct, let’s say—doesn’t bother Banerji. “A long time ago, at my first exhibition, I was asked why I didn’t do abstracts,” she says. “I didn’t have an answer then and it has taken me all this time to gradually work out what that answer might be.”
That’s where magic comes in.
“When I see something I like, I want to own it, to possess it and to make it mine, uniquely mine,” the artist declares. She identifies this as an abstraction. “The resulting work, though realistic and representational, contains for me that glimpse of magic and joy.”
She paints a wide range of subjects. Her works on exhibition include flowers and sunsets, buildings and ruins, mountains and apples, and one curious painting of three bell peppers, red, yellow, and green, which appear to be floating through the sky.
Nita has had no formal training in art. She first started painting – oils on canvas – when she was in her teens. When she picked up a paint brush again many years later in the 1990s, she started with water color and color pencils, a medium which, she feels, isn’t appreciated as much as it should be.
The reason for this almost random collection of subjects, Banerji explains, is because “I see, not the subject matter, but the essence of the composition. The wood, not the trees. The appeal of a particular project could be colour, shapes, light, composition, even the technique used to execute it.”
Banerji has had no formal training in art. She first started painting—oils on canvas—when she was in her teens. When she picked up a paint brush again many years later in the 1990s, she started with water color and color pencils, a medium which, she feels, isn’t appreciated as much as it should be. Without a teacher and with the now ever-present Internet still some years in the future at that time, she turned to books on drawing, sketching, and painting, many of them showing works of the great masters of art, and from those she laboriously taught herself the techniques she need and which she’s now a consummate master of.
Despite her age, she still paints regularly, leaving her husband to do the cooking while she holds her breath to work in fine detail.
Nita Banerji’s painting are on display in an exhibition titled Glimpses of Magic, at The Art Gallery, India International Center Annexe, New Delhi from 2—8 June.