art and culture
Art was my inner calling: Swati Pasari
India Blooms News Service | 25 Jan 2017
Art was my inner calling: Swati Pasari
Young and vivacious, Swati Pasari started painting in her late teens. Hailing from a business family in Kolkata, Swati tried her hand at the family business before finding her inner calling in art. The young artist also attributes a large part of her present life to pranic-healing and its effects. In a conversation with IBNS correspondent Sudipto Maity, Swati opens up about art, life, pranic-healing and art market in India.

Let’s have the formal introduction. Tell us a bit about yourself.


I’m Swati Pasari. I’m an artist, a painter and a sculptor. I have been into this field since the last nine years and I’m more into semi abstract art and sculptures. The paintings are done on canvas with acrylic colours and the sculptures are made of fibre-glass. I did my schooling from Modern High School in Calcutta (Kolkata). I studied for a year in Australia, doing business. I completed my Bachelors degree from Calcutta University in Commerce. I never thought I would get into art professionally, but this was my inner calling.


Did you train as an artist?


No, I am a self taught artist. I never thought of taking this as a professional career, but with ‘pranic-healing’ and meditations I understood that this is my inner calling and this is the purpose of my life.


Do you remember the first time you painted a picture?

Since childhood I have been very fond of art, but the first time I made a canvas painting was in 2007. I started with a Ganesha painting. In childhood I used to make a lot of cards and albums on anybody’s birthdays or anniversaries. I also did a lot of school projects and charts. So, I have grown up with paints, colours and drawings.

When did you start taking it seriously?


I started taking it up seriously and professionally in 2008. I started realising that A) this is my inner calling and B) I was getting a very good response from people around me. I did an exhibition in August, 2008, in Genesis Art Gallery. I had 15 paintings there and people came and saw them. I sold all of them. So, that was a big encouragement and motivation for me. That is when I realised that this is the right path.


Take us through the various exhibitions you have been part of.


I have had a lot of exhibitions all over India, including Delhi, Bombay (Mumbai), Bangalore, Hyderabad, Calcutta (Kolkata) of course! I have done a show in Goa. I have also done a couple of shows in Dubai, London, Jakarta and the US. I have been very lucky in terms of opportunities, because, I have always flown into the opportunities I have got. Initially I started with Calcutta (Kolkata) and then move to Bangalore and Delhi. I have done solo exhibitions with the Dhoomimal City Art Gallery in Delhi, Sublime Art Gallery in Bangalore. I have done one solo exhibition at the Point Of View Gallery in Bombay (Mumbai). I’m working with a gallery in Dubai. I have also had shows in Samara Art gallery in Ahmedabad. It’s like word of mouth also. With publicity and everything, the works are getting recognised and appreciated in all markets and I think that’s a very good thing, because, I feel that my work is very universal. It’s not for either Hindus or Muslims or it’s not for one kind of people, caste or anything. It’s very secular in nature.


You said that you have a Bachelors degree in Commerce. Did you give business a try before trying your hand at painting?


Yeah. You know, when I was in school and had those vacations, I used to go and help my father at office. So I have had a business side too and yes it was a good experience for me. I got to know a lot of things regarding accounts and finance, but, I think this (painting) was my forte and this was me. With art I found myself and found the inner identity that a person has.


So, do you think that the extra credentials you have as a business student will help you sell your art better?


Definitely. But having said that, the artist’s job is to create, to dwell into the whole meditative side and to create and feel the emotions that come from within. It’s the curator and the art gallery’s job to market the product. So, I don’t want to use my energy a lot into marketing my work. That would be the gallery’s prerogative. I personally would want to focus on my creation.


What do you do when you are not painting?


I am also a pranic-healer. So, there’s a lot of spiritual and social work that we do. I heal people and I spend a lot of time with my family. It’s because of them that I’m who I am today. I like to spend a lot of time with my grandfather and my father especially. No one can teach us what we learn from our parents and grandparents. I am very grateful about it and I want to absorb and learn as much as possible. I spend some time with a couple of childhood friends. I’m into reading, so I read when I get time. Since I’m into meditation and healing, that takes up a lot of my time  

How did you get into pranic-healing?


There was this very strange phase in my life when I did not know what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. That was the time when I started getting into pranic-healing and painting at the same time. Pranic-healing made me realise that painting is actually my life. There are a lot of centres in Calcutta (Kolkata), about eight. I’m affiliated to one that is in Beck Bagan. It’s owned by Nitin and Aditi Kohli. I did my classes there and ever since then it made me realise that I need to be in art. So I have been growing in painting and pranic-healing together. It’s a parallel thing that has happened in my life.


Tell us a bit about your art process. How do you go about it?


I generally paint almost every day. I don’t have fixed hours of painting and I paint as and when I feel like, and I want to. But, yes there’s a dedication and a discipline of work that I like to follow. So, mostly from morning to evening I’m in my studio, sketching, drawing, painting or sculpting. And as I make the base of the sculptures on my own, I need to spend a lot of time doing the clay work and making them with fibre-glass.


As you sculpt as well as paint, are you a sculptor who paints or a painter who sculpts?


I was a painter who got into sculpting, but now I feel I’m more of a sculptor, because of the appreciation and the recognition in the market for my sculptures. The kind of feedback I have got for my sculpture is that it’s very unique, so, I think now it’s more of sculpting. Both painting and sculpting are very fine form of art. An extra stroke can damage the whole thing.


Tell me, does that scare you at all?


No, it doesn’t scare me. I just flow with my heart and my thoughts. When I start painting, I don’t think about anything in particular. I just flow with my colours. So, whatever I feel like painting, it’s my inner creativity that’s surfacing. I don’t want to be very analytic about my strokes and colours. Once you start judging and analysing, you cannot really create. Creation is something that has to have a continuous flow. If something goes wrong, it’s okay. It’s is part and parcel of learning. You learn and then you unlearn. You grow and then you evolve. You make mistakes, you learn again. You fall and you rise. That’s what life is for me.


Purists have discarded wall painting and graffiti as forms of art. What’s your take on the subject?


See, everybody has got their own interpretation and their own thought towards different forms and mediums of art. I feel anything that is created is art. Now if I don’t consider something as art, that is my perception, but it’s not good to judge or assume.      




Are you very religious or use deities as bare muse?


I am very spiritual and not religious. I don’t believe in sitting in the temple for hours every day and praying to God. I feel God is within us and all around us and everything that we do. I’m not saying that I don’t believe in religion at all, but for me God is one. For me, Krishna is equal to Allah as Allah is equal to Christ. It’s just a form and my basic idea is to celebrate life. When I thought about celebrations, I thought of using a lot of colours, vibrant hues. Make my art a lot more positive. That is why I have drawn a lot of people dancing and playing a lot of instruments.


Is that the reason that most of your sculptures are faceless?


Yes. You don’t need eyes to see God. You don’t need a nose to smell God and you don’t need a mouth to taste God or ears even to hear God. God is within you. So, even without your senses you can hear God, you can speak to God and you can just be with him.


How’s the art market in Bengal shaping up?


There are a lot of artists in Bengal and Kolkata is the hub of art in Bengal. I think the Bengal market reflects the national scene. It’s no different; I don’t really see a drastic change from the overall Indian market.


Did you follow anyone as such while starting out?


I just followed my heart and mind and I was definitely inspired by pranic-healing. It has really taught me a lot and changed me as a person. It has changed my approach towards life. I had put all my faith in God. When I started, I really did not know what to do and where to go and whom to trust. Somewhere I had even lost faith in myself. But with help from God, pranic-healing and my family, I put back everything into place.