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Indu Varma
Artist

Sackville
May 02, 2018

Born and raised in India, Indu Varma has lived in Sackville since 1969 when as a newlywed she immigrated to Canada. After a teaching career of 37 years, she pursued her interest in art and graduated with a degree in visual arts from Université de Moncton in 2016. The inextricable connection between her art and her life finds expression in a variety of ways – through abstract art, figurative elements, vibrant or subtle colors, bold lines, ethnic motifs, and unique textures. The challenges of living away from her native country, leaving behind all that was familiar and dear to her, such as family, friends, favourite places, the rich colourful clothes, the familiar foods, the language, the music and the art that she grew up with, were far from miniscule. Integrating in a dominant culture in an effort to fit in while redefining one’s identity and struggling to pass on language, culture, and traditions to the next generation are some of the common difficulties most immigrant families experience. Her exhibition of paintings entitled Lost in Transition focuses on theses experiences and is on view at the Struts Gallery until May 12. She also has an exhibition entitled Inspirations on display at the Joggins Fossil Centre until June 3.

1. Yoga & meditation



The giggling of children, the rustling of leaves, the gentle dew drops on the grass glistening in the morning sunlight, the waft of wind carrying the fragrance of flowers frequently get lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday struggles and efforts to survive. Time to pause, reflect, and smell the roses is virtually non-existent through the dizzying speed of this journey that we call life. Hence, for me, it is important to start my day with meditation followed by yoga. I am passionate about both because they allow me to maintain a healthy body while aligning my mental, physical, and spiritual beings. Meditation allows me to reflect and connect with my inner self. It is closely associated with yoga. The meaning of the word “yoga” is union. The eventual goal of doing yoga is to find the path to merging with the infinite. Meditation provides that pathway that allows one to discover and connect with all the divine powers residing within.

2. Cooking



There is a very close relationship between cooking and creating art. There is a creative process involved in both. Just as colors, forms, and textures are important in maintaining harmony in artistic creation, similarly in cooking there has to be a balance in choosing ingredients carefully and cooking only to a certain level in order to maintain color, flavor, and texture. Besides, feeding your family freshly cooked nutritious meals is like putting the icing on the cake!

3. Positive attitude



Life’s journey is never simple and trouble free. Stuff happens in life to the best of us. Even the Queen of England has had her own challenges. What’s important is to remember that while we may not have control of what happens, we can certainly control our reactions. With an attitude of gratitude, by staying true to our core values and by remaining positive, we can navigate more smoothly through this complicated journey of life. My exhibition Inspirations was inspired by the stories of our common human experiences.

4. Learn, learn, learn



I truly believe that learning must be a life-long process. After I retired from teaching, I studied visual arts at the Université de Moncton. Being the oldest student in class didn’t bother me. At age 67, I proudly walked across the podium with my Bachelors degree. I believe in taking every opportunity to learn, whether it’s through a course or from attending a webinar or through listening to other people’s experiences. I am trying to learn how to present and sell my art on-line. It is a steep learning curve, but I know that with effort and perseverance, I can succeed. Most recently, I attended a weekend workshop presented by Tucker’s Pottery Supplies in Halifax. It was a fantastic experience learning new techniques to apply glazes and under-glazes as well as learn about kiln maintenance.

5. Doing good with my art



I am fortunate that I am not a starving artist trying to make ends meet. Many a times I use my art to do some charity work. I make regular donations to various worthy causes such as a fundraiser for a women’s shelter or a hospital foundation, or to support mental health. I donate 50% of the proceeds from the sale of the black and white prints in the series entitled Lessons Learned from Six-year Olds to the Atlantic Wellness Community Center, an organization dedicated to addressing mental health related issues of children and youth. The prints are inspired by true events involving six year olds. As I observed my six-year old granddaughter and some other six year olds, I realized that there is a lot that we can learn from their words and actions. Some of these prints are currently on display as part of my Inspirations exhibition.

 

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