How artist Agnes D Cruz Rajesh didn’t let age get in the way of pursuing her dreams.
Coming from a defence background, Agnes never thought her work would be showcased in national and international galleries one day. Born in Guwahati and brought up in places across India, Agnes who is now permanently settled in Hyderabad is a self-taught artist. “My dad was a good painter, but he couldn’t pursue it seriously due to his job, maybe my creative streak comes from him,” says Agnes. When Agnes was in kindergarten instead of learning the alphabets she used to make sketches with the letters which continued till high school.
Though she pursued a three-year diploma coursein commercial art from Nirmala Niketan Polytechnic in Mumbai, her parents were not so keen on art as a career for her. “My parents always had the impression that an artist always wears a kurta and carries a khadi bag filled with brushes and felt the earnings aren’t much. But now my mother says I am the best.”
Marriage to a naval officer led to constant moving which didn’t leave much time for art. “In 2014, well-known artist Jayasri Burman saw my paintings and motivated me to take up art seriously. I realised then I can start a new chapter in my life. That year, I made a series of paintings on nature which was shown in Kolkata in October; the response for my first show was so good, that my three paintings were sold on the opening day itself and one gentleman came and picked up all my leaf paintings,” says Agnes smilingly.
Now that her kids have grown up, Agnes with her husband’s support is busy showcasing her work in private collections in many cities of India and countries such as Australia, Dubai, New Zealand, Canada and USA.
She emotes with her brushes and canvas, the themes always revolving around elements of nature. Her works evoke an in-depth analysis of the definition of life. Agnes says, “I think we humans are happiest when we stay connected with nature and this subject makes up the largest part of the artwork I create, I choose to evolve my works from nature, in impressionistic as well as abstract styles. I have always been amazed by the way nature evokes an emotion, triggers a memory or even narrates a story in the ethereal arrangements of its elements. The flora, fauna, earth, water, fire… all symbolise the elements of life, its moods and emotions. My paintings are my attempt to capture those beautiful moments, narrate that story on canvas, letting my brush emote with paint.”
Apart from painting, Agnes is also interested in singing and poetry. Her interest in art has also led to new friendships over the years. “We moved around a lot and it was difficult to connect with the locals in a short duration. So my friend suggested taking up an art course in the city, I jumped at the opportunity and met many artists through that,” says Agnes who is the winner of Woman Emerging Artist Award and part of the Hyderabad Art Society. “My journey which started in 2014 has been a short one but it has given me a lot of exposure. I say it’s never too late to pursue one’spassion,” feels Agnes.