She left a lucrative banking job for art’s sake; doesn’t regret it

Two years ago, the urge to paint was so strong that it hit this artist like an avalanche. Though she describes the experience as a surreal one, it was worth nevertheless. From computer to canvas and pen to brush, it was indeed a creative transformation for Manju Srivatsa, a reputed banker. Manju will showcase her watercolour paintings at the first international Kala Mela to be hosted by Lalit Kala Academy at the Indira Gandhi National Center for Arts, Janpath from February 4 to 14.

Manju, who served as the president of Retail Banking at Axis Bank for three decades, says, “Two years ago I had this strong urge to paint. I wanted to paint flowers in watercolours. That was the end of a three-decade-long career in banking and the beginning of a new journey with paint and brush. I had only heard of stuff like this or read about it in books. I did not know that it actually happened to real people in the real world. I sincerely thank God, my family and my friends for indulging me in this new love.”  

The artist has painted flowers exclusively – rose, sunflower, marigold, lotus and so on. She is exhibiting her ‘Marigold’ collection at the Kala Mela. “I dream flowers. I grow flowers. I photograph flowers and I paint flowers. Occasionally I may paint things around flowers,” she says explaining her obsession with flowers.

Manju has exhibited in solo and group shows in Mumbai, Pune and Jaipur and is always excited about her new-found skill. She says, “The colours are all consuming and create such an aura of beauty and happiness that all else in the world is lost and made not significant. The artist has the ability and freedom to transcend the realm of reality and create one of her own. A world beyond the normal and the given. It is like a journey into infinity. I now inhabit this new world. It is like prayer. And I love it.”