Artist Vallery Puri’s vibrant canvases capture her serene state

, Neeraja Murthy

 Artist Vallery Puri is at home. Metaphorically speaking, it is the state in which she is at present now. Wearing a cheery yellow dress, Vallery awaits for a group of friends and relatives from Delhi to be with her for her debut solo show ‘Home’ hosted by Shrishti Art Gallery at Park Hyatt.

This series holds special significance in Vallery’s life. “This is my second marriage,” she begins to explain. Having moved on from a 25-year-old marriage, she found a new partner and shifted base to Hyderabad. “We (her first husband and her) had an amicable breakup. Usually the break up of long relationships can be traumatic, but here everything was okay and a lovely sense of peace.” Thereafter, Vallery spent few years to look inwards. “I enjoyed my own company; after a certain age, one is not insecure about how one looks and finds beauty in meditation and beyond. It is important for everyone to seek and discover yourself.” This exhibition is her attempt to capture her serene state and celebrate her new home in Hyderabad.

Done over a span of three years, canvases burst with colours, flowers and foliage and bring alive her surroundings and observations. The vibrant works look busy and crowded, her way of bringing different layers into focus. “Look at this room,” she remarks. “There is a table, chair, carpet, a dancing doll and Aditi (actress Aditi Rao Hydari who is her husband’s niece and the chief guest for the show) at the door. One has to just look out and you can find as many different layers as possible.”

Her muse, her cat Geisha (“Travelling three continents and eleven countries with me, it gave me 16 years of joy”), which passed away one-and-half years ago sits comfy on a blue-coloured Buddha’s lap. “Ultimately all human beings strive for nirvana and peace. That was my concept when I started painting and a blue Buddha signifies healing.” A canvas with a red Buddha showcases the transformation when we age. “It is journey of shifting from a confused state to an age where we are at peace and that eventually is home. The garden I nurtured is also a home.”

Simple domestic themes abound: ‘Kitchen kahaani’ displays how pets Geisha and Sherry (dog) followed Vallery into the kitchen, ‘Pandomonium’ brings alive the energy of birds, turtle and fish in their pond at home. There’s another on her friends, the kingfishers from KBR Park, dropping by to have the fish from her pond.

A former air hostess, Vallery is also an exuberant personality. Laced with wit, her conversations are animated too. “I am quite a caricature myself; I move my hands much less now,” she states with a laugh.

She calls her life and painting a miracle and journey. “With every work of mine, I am learning and sharing it with others. Before I met my husband, I discovered myself. I was at home with myself and I am at home with him now.”

(‘Home’ — Recent works by Vallery Puri are on display at Park Hyatt till December 16; 11 am to 8 pm)

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