Mona Biswarupa Mohanty is an artist from the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha. She is the new one in the list of Indians who have received the UAE's coveted 'Golden Visa' or long-term residence visa for 10 years.
She is a designer and an alumni of NIFT, New Delhi, and went on to study at Istituto Europeo di Design, Milan. Before that, she did a school-level diploma in fine arts from the School of Art and Crafts, Baripada.
In a talk with CitySpidey, she shared, “Since childhood, I loved painting and drawing but never thought of pursuing it as my career. I loved creativity and being creative so I took up designing as my choice of career. It was just 5 years ago, in 2016, that I realised I want to be a full-time art practitioner. That is when I left my job to pursue my true calling, ART.”
“My art style is figurative. It draws inspiration from my Indian roots, my culture, and my life experiences. Nature and culture have always inspired me. I see nature as a woman. I also see nature within a woman. Depicting the feminine energy of this vast universe in various forms is the core essence of my artistic practice,” she added
On being asked about the most challenging moment of her life, very confidently and smartly she said, “Once you have overcome a challenge, you become confident of overcoming challenges. In my life, I have had many challenges... but when I look back at them now, I feel they were the stepping stones that helped me climb up to my true potential. Those difficult moments have made me stronger.”
Mona Biswarupa shared that when a plain sheet is converted into a storyboard with the help of lines, textures, forms, and colors, we call it a painting. She also added that she equally loves figurative as well as abstract work. Minimalism always wins me over.
On her social media journey, she shared, “I am a bit of an introvert and I like to keep things to myself. I had no idea what Instagram was until I left my job. One of my friends introduced me to Instagram and taught me how to use it. I started posting almost everyday.”
“I treated Instagram like my daily journal where I could list the footprints of my journey towards becoming an artist. I loved painting and drawing which gave me immense happiness. Sharing them with others doubled my joy as I started getting messages from people telling me how much joy they get when they see my work. To date, each post is another baby step towards making myself a bit better than yesterday,” she added.
On using recurring themes like art is women, female forms, and femininity, she said, “My art borrows a lot from my childhood experiences and my father’s poetry. His writing style has a lot of folk influence where he describes nature as a woman. Most of his songs depict nature as a beautiful female and sometimes he describes a woman as nature. I wanted to be a poet like my father, but now I try to do that with a brush instead of a pen. My art is an endeavor to depict visual poetry where I explore nature, folk and the feminine energy of nature.”
Biswarupa shared her childhood memory, “My first encounter with colours was at the age of 3. I took my father’s ink and mother’s aalta and scribbled a few shapes with it and discovered the joy of creating something.”
Biswarupa said that her parents, family, and friends have been the biggest support in her artistic journey. Being a poet, my father has always understood how rewarding and soulful it is for a person to follow his or her passion and create a profession out of it. She was academically strong but when she decided to leave her mainstream education to study fashion, her parents did not object to it.
“They have always encouraged my sisters and me to follow our hearts and to make right choices in life, where you enjoy the freedom as well as take up the responsibility of its consequences. Five years ago, when I decided to leave my design job to pursue a new career in art, my husband was my greatest support. He acted as an anchor while I sailed on to explore the possibilities of an unknown field called art,” she added.
Biswarupa shared that before the internet era, an artistic career solely depended on patrons, advertising agencies, and galleries. Today the internet has democratised the creative field and there are many ways of creating a profession out of one's passion.
She is also of the view that artists these days are self-employed entrepreneurs. Lack of exposure makes parents insecure when their child selects a creative path, and their concern is understandable. However, times are changing and creative entrepreneurs will soon dominate a big portion of a country's economy.
She shared, “I have been really blessed to have amazing mentors who have guided me through many phases of complete uncertainty.”
She concluded, “It is never too late to begin a new journey if you truly believe in it. Daily practice, sadhna or riyaz is the key to success. Nothing can replace this. Identify your gift. There are millions of people in the world who have no idea what they are passionate about. If you know what your passion is, you should consider yourself lucky.”
“Once you have identified your passion, when you feel you are ready to jump into it, dive into it as if there is no plan B. Keep learning, no matter what age or how much experience you have. We all have something to learn from each other. Last but not least, life is too short to work on your weaknesses, rather focus on your strengths and make them stronger. We all have our talents but it works for you only if you work for it,” she concluded.