Sub-cover artist, Arts Illustrated
‘Exposed to different cultures from a very young age and highly influenced by temple architecture and textures of India, my paintings are semi-abstract with the suggestion of a female form, musical instruments or some combination of these elements. They simultaneously explore colour, texture, line and form, not as juxtapositions or layers but as elements integral to one another. I regard film-making as an extension of the fine arts, which is also the subject matter.’
Trained in both Art and Psychology, Gita Hudson is the current Program Officer at DakshinChitra – the heritage museum in Chennai. In the nine years that she has held the position, she has been instrumental in putting up some of the museum’s biggest shows and exhibitions. As a curator, she has successfully put up retrospective exhibitions of some of the most eminent artists in the country, including P. Perumal, Alphonso Arul Doss, K. G. Subramanyan, Veera Santhanam and Yusuf Arakkal.
Active in the contemporary art scene since the early 1990s, both as an artist and a curator, Gita Hudson is also a film-maker who has made 23 documentary films on art and legendary artists, all of which have been screened widely in India and abroad. Her art, usually abstract in nature, tends to take on different adaptations of the style, taking viewers through narratives that traverse different timelines.
Why do you do art?
I do art because I didn’t seek or study it; it came along my life like the most natural thing and became a part of my life. Since I didn’t get a degree in art, I had to work ten times harder than artists with degrees and learn more from books and exhibitions rather than from mentors or teachers. Copying masterpieces helped me to discover colours and learn all about tones and shades and the magic of the visual arts!
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I have been painting and exhibiting since 1990, and find that every five years I have come up with a fresh series of paintings which are complimentary to my earlier works. I think in the next five years I would be doing a few more solo shows, filled with my signature crimsons and whites and hopefully showcase in many other cultural centres across the globe.
If you could meet your artistic role model/inspiration, who would that be?
Great masters like Raza, Alphonso Doss, Achuthan Kudallur and Adimoolam have been my inspiration. Meeting great people doesn’t give me a thrill; but I like to listen to great minds. So I guess I would be thrilled to meet some of my favourite living authors like Ohran Pamuk, Arundathi Roy, Shashi Tharoor or Perumal Murugan.
Who or what keeps you company while you work?
While working, I don’t like any distractions – not even music. I like the silence, but I understand that in today’s lifestyle, one has to attend to calls to keep going! It’s the visual culture that guides me from start to finish. My works are layered and I work with oils, which takes days to dry. So I work on many canvasses at the same time.
How would you want to be remembered?
There are millions of artists all over the globe and a few stand out and we remember them for the joy and vision they spread through their art. I have a feeling I will be remembered for the crimson colour that I use extensively in my works. I also think that I have contributed, in my own small way, in restoring the disappearing temple murals of our region. I feel my pay-back to the arts are my documentaries.