India is her canvas
For the Hungarian painter Ildiko Morovszki Halasz, India is not only a muse; it is the reason why she picked up the brush
Hungarian born artist Ildikó Morovszki-Halász came to Hyderabad for the first time and says she has great expectations from the city's art lovers. Asian Art House brought her works to Link Cafe, Sheraton Hotel, Hyderabad.
A total of 50 artworks out of the 200 from her body of work - "In the wake of Amrita Sher-Gil" are on display at the art space created in the cafe.
The Hungarian artist, who currently lives and works in India, has a famous redecessor - Amrita Sher Gil. And it doesn't end there. Ever since she moved India with her family in 2015, her works have been inspired largely by India and by the iconic painter.
Unlike most European artists, Ildiko did not like to describe the poverty and impoverishment of rural India, instead, it was the simplicity of the village life, the colourful rituals and the peculiarities of its inhabitants that captivated her.
Journey as a painter and inspiration
Her father was a hobby-painter, so, the first influence to paint came from her father. She says, "In my early years I decided that I wanted to study and practice art, so I went to a professional art school at the age of 14.
It was the Vocational High School of Art at my hometown in Hungary. Later on, I studied in and graduated from the College of Applied Arts and Design of Budapest.
Before coming to India I mainly drew with carbon; painting came for me only upon arrival at India, where I immediately started to feel the same strong inspiration for painting that my fellow Hungarian-born woman artist, Amrita Sher Gil must have felt, living here.
"Here In India I understood that I will not able to express the colourfulness of the country and of the people by simple drawings. I needed to use colours for that.
In the last four years I have been travelling a lot to different parts of India with my family. Each and every journey brought us new and different experiences, opened new and different segments of the Indian life, culture and spiritualism for us, and this permanently inspired me to paint.
My inspiration and Master is Amrita Sher-Gil, who has opened my artistic view on India," adds ldikó.
"When traveling in different parts of India, one can discover totally new and different worlds and by that get unique cultural impressions, characteristic only for that specific region.
That makes India so colourful and interesting. One of my first trips in India with my family was to Rajasthan, where I was astonished to come across so many rugged features, colourful, and at the same time craggy faces.
These colourful faces, full of dominant character, inspired me to start to paint portraits, so we can say the birthplace of my "Portraits" was in Rajasthan. When travelling, we usually stop at places, that are not visited by tourists.
We communicate with the local people, we accept eventual invitations to their houses, and we let them show what they do for a living. When inspired by a certain situation, face, movement, extremity, etc.
I usually take a lot of photos about these interactions that will later remind me about the situation, the atmosphere, etc.," says ldikó.
She says she wants to feel the pain and effort before beginning to work. "While interacting with the water carrier women, I requested them to load the buckets on my head, so that I myself could feel how difficult their work was.
On our vacation in Kerala, early morning I went to the seaside to see the fishermen, pulling the long nets for the first catch.
They let me join them and pull the nets with them. (My husband was shocked to see me) I have just decided that my next series will be dedicated to the fishermen of Kerala."
Admiration for women artists
"I have no particular favourite, the list is very long; therefore, I will share only a few. Generally, I very much respect the works of Frida Kahlo, from Mexico. (Part of her ancestry came from Hungary.)
There is a very talented young lady in Hungary, Noemi Ordogh, whose works impress me very much. Talking about men, I like David Hockney from GB, Denis Sarazhin, from Ukraine and Gábor A. Nagy and Akos Birkas from Hungary," shares ldikó.
All about Amrita Sher-Gil
"In India, my favourite, first of all is Amrita Sher-Gil, my Master. I also admire the works of B Prabha for the way she painted women. She, herself was inspired by Amrita, at a time when India had few women artists.
I like Anjolie Ela Menon for her impressive portraits and strong colours, Manjit Bawa for his strong symbols and clean forms, Francis Souza for his pictures being so dynamic and full of energy."
My first series was based on my study of Amrita Shergill's famous oil paintings. Later on, I started to consciously look for themes of my own, but Amrita's inspiration, enthusiasm and influence is always with me; therefore I have chosen to title the exhibition "In the wake of Amrita Sher-Gil".
The thing that Amrita Sher-Gil and I have in common is that we both came to India, discovered the beauty of India, and decided to express it through paintings.
Eminently I was, and I am interested to paint faces, people, movements, moments, and situations that carry me away, and which mean India for me.
Message to upcoming artists
Artists should always keep in mind that art is for art's sake "L'art pour l'art", i.e. it is not meant not for sale.
When creating a piece of art artists should not think about prices and market, etc. They should focus on creation with their best endeavors for perfection.
Artists should not create anything in order just to satisfy public demand or taste. A piece of art always has to have a message for the viewer.
You are the gate through which God manifests himself. The real talent is to be able to let the inspiration, coming from God, to go through you the way it comes.
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