Saturday, 19 November 2016

Surabhi: from Goa to Doha

Imagine this:

The postman drops a letter. You've been waiting for this letter because your daughter has told you you'd be getting it.  She's told you that your four year old granddaughter has been writing a letter to you. You can hardly wait for the postman to drop it in your aangan. Your fingers are so full of love that they fumble when you open the letter. You don't want any rips on this treasure.

"She's learning her ABC." your daughter had mentioned it.

You open the letter. But, it has no words. None! No A, B or C.

It's a letter full of drawings: innocent love of a four year old for her Nani sketched out in pencils and filled in with crayons.
Almost a month ago, I sat in a sunny sitting room in Doha talking to the four year old, who's all grown up now and who's an artist and whose art I stumbled upon on facebook and instantly fell in love with.

When I asked her about her first art memory, she told me about her letters to her Nani. I knew I was taking more than just her art to decorate my home that day. I knew I would imagine what those letters looked like, what pictures the four year old chose to draw, how her Nani felt when she first opened the letter, how this story passed from grandmother to mother to daughter in India and then got shared with me in Doha on a sunny autumn morning, every time I look at this piece of art.

The artist is Surabhi

This is Surabhi with the portrait I fell for... can you blame me?
Surabhi's art is like her, beautiful and so infectious. Her warmth permeates through each brush stroke.

If I could, I would get all of these too. These are some of Surabhi's other completed works:
"What's that?" I asked.

"Do you see that day bed? Surabhi pointed towards the big windows, "I painted the cardboard it came packed in and my husband framed it for me."

How could I not love this artist and her art?
Her living room, every nook and corner, is so beautifully curated, it was a feast to savour and I managed to take a few shots to drool over at leisure.

The three abstracts on the right are her artwork.
And then there is her homage to Picasso...her brush, her strokes recreating his masterpieces.

These two larger abstracts are  Surabhi's own work..."I'm fascinated by how artists play with colour in abstract art, so I'm trying my hand at it..." she confesses.

I admire the way all the colours balance out the space: the cushions, the screen saver, the pink blossoms and even the mouse pad...LOVE it all.
"When did you know you wanted to pursue art?"

"My mother tells me that I was three when they got me a blackboard to practise my A, B, C. One day she saw me drawing a perfectly symmetrical duck with both my hands. She says she knew art was me and she always encouraged me to follow my passion."

Her smile broadens and her eyes shine a little more when she talks about her mother and her grandmother. I sit on her sofa, looking up to her while she talks, surrounded by the portraits she's painted and soak in the love and the stories of her childhood.

The women in her life inform her art and through the pigment on the tip of her brush dissipate the love she got from them onto her canvas for every portrait I see shows a woman's soft strength: soft like a mother's touch and strong like a Nani's belief.

Surabhi graduated from Goa College of Fine Arts and did her Masters from Hyderabad Central University.

Her husband's job brought her to Doha.

Yes, if I could, I would take more of her work home with me. But art needs space like music needs silence to be truly appreciated.

When I find the right space, I'll be back. Or maybe, another space will suit this work more...who knows.
For now, I bask in the warmth of Surabhi's art, even when I'm on the floor -- cleaning:) Her portrait has brought the colours of autumn (which I miss) close to me.

Surabhi can be reached at 
If you would like to buy her art,
you can--

Have a wonderful weekend:)
See you soon.


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  3. Loved the article...i love the shot....especially the slippers add so much life!

  4. What a lovely post and introduction to Surabhi. Her work is fabulous, and I think you've chosen well.

  5. I saw this popping up on the side when I returned to re-read your poem and the quote from David Orr. Goa interests me because my grandfather was from there, though he chose to dissociate from his African relations later in life. I enjoyed reading this story, especially because art is my current interest where I am learning to illustrate for my books. I like the vibrancy in Surabhi’s portraits and my favorite is the African woman with a headdress.

    1. Thank you for reading this post and for appreciating Surabhi's work. I'll make sure I pass on the compliments to her:)


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