Arts Illustrated

July 16, 2020

Bandana Kumari
Sub-cover artist, Arts Illustrated
Golden couple Banthana Kumari
Golden Couple 3, Acrylic and ink on canvas, 24ʺ x 30ʺ.

Hailing from Khagaul, Bihar, Bandana completed her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the College of Arts and Crafts, Patna University, and is the two-time winner of the prestigious Prafulla Dahanukar Art Foundation Award. She is also the recipient of the National Scholarship awarded by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

Bandana’s fascination with popular folk art in Bihar, especially the style of Madhubani paintings, is imbibed within her works. Her characters, mostly female, and the intricate motifs that adorn their features portray a sense of connectedness with nature and highlight the idea of a powerful woman – or as her father put it: Meri Sherni Beti.

Bandana Kumari

Why do you do art?

I have never actually thought about it. I just started doing it and gave it my all. When I first came to this field, I didn't know much. Where I am from, girls are married off at a very young age. When I began this journey, I just knew that I wanted something different in life. Thanks to the support and encouragement I got from my father, I have gotten this far. I just believe that when you put your heart into something you do, not just your brains; when you express things that are deep inside of you, the experiences that shape you, that right there, is art.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

In the next five years? I have never tried to plan it out before – never set a goal for myself saying that I want to achieve this or that in five years. I just know that now, I am trying out different things. I have started exploring sculptures in addition to the big canvases that I usually work on... I just want to do good work. I am not looking to become a very celebrated artist. I just want to be a good artist who does good work. That's a motto that has been with me even 10 years ago; and that is something I want to stick with. Let's see where it takes me!

 If you could meet your artistic hero/inspiration, who would that be?

That would be Frida Kahlo. Her life, her experiences, her struggle and the works that came out of it are truly very inspiring. Despite the many obstacles sent her way, the times she lived in, she stood her ground and never stopped creating, she never gave up on art. So, I look up to her a lot.

Who or what keeps you company while you work?

My husband is an artist as well – Dharmendra Kumar. That has been my biggest plus-point – that we both are artists and that we can both support each other as we work. We are there for each other at all times. When we need help, or need to discuss something, we never have to rely on anyone else. We work it out together.

How would you want to be remembered?

A lot of people out there are good artists. To me, it is far more important to be a good person. Good art – that would just happen along the way. I would be thankful if people remembered me for my humanity and the work that came of it.

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