heading-media coverage.jpg (30987 bytes)

The Japan Times
Sunday, August 31 2002

Personality Profile by Vivienne Kenrick
Jain fuses Indian themes and `Nihonga' techniques, whose roots are Indian, in her artwork.

My exhibition in Japanese style painting portraying Indian Imagery was an exciting challenge for me, as it uses a relatively unknown medium. At times I struggled late into the night to bring about the desired effects. When suddenly I could see the subject emerge with the brilliance of its pigments against a subtle contrasting background, that was like communing with God.

Madhu Jain regards her fusing of "nihonga" techniques and Indian themes as her contribution towards bringing the cultures of Japan and India closer. She was laways an artist. Coming to Tokyo some years ago with her husband, a senior Indian diplomat, widened her scope. She tokk full advantage of her different opportunities here.

Born in the pink city of Jaipur in the desert state of Rajasthan, madhu grew up in Delhi, where she graduated from university with a B.Sc degree. She took a years course at an art school. Married with two sons, she lived in the U.S, Singapore and Pakistan before the family came to Japan." wherever I went I loved to go to rural areas to capture what I saw of slower life," she said. " In India I painted bullock cats, girls in sari, the vivacity of cultural heritage and traditions. I went to beaches in south India, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and California,so that my love of water grew.

In Japan Madhu learned something crucial to the individualistic way she has developed. "Originally rock pigments had gone to japan from India centuries ago. In India today not many are acquainted
with this medium and are curious to know more about it. When art loving japanese visit my studio they are entranced to see traditional Indian images in Nihonga. When Indian friends come and I show them an array of bottles containing rock mineral pigments, slver and gold leaves and shell powder,they are awestruck. It is a first time experience fior them, and nihonga has become an obsession for me. "

Madhu was woprking in oils and acrylics when she fiorst came to Japan. She said: " I soon got drawn towards the eco-friendly, pollution free, natural medium of nihonga. My love for nature and the environment consciousness in me found a strong attraction here. I had never ever seen so many colors as there were in rock powders with so many gradations. I decided to research and understand this new medium. "

She sought the guidance of artists and teachers of nihonga. She studied the Japanes elanguage and continued to do so after her return to India. " It helped me understand the Japanes ethos and arts,the expertise in the miniatute and the belief that small is magnificient. It helped me keep my contacts with friends and artists of Japan," Madhu said.

People say her personality,warmth, delicacy and friendliness shine through her work. When she lived in japan, she paryicipated in group exhibitions. One of her paintings was selected for the prestigious Nikaten exhibition held at Ueno. That was the first of what has become six annual selections. She held solo exhibitons, one of them in Nagano that decide her to put together an exhibition projecting Rajasthan folklife: " the vibrant colors,the scenic beauty and the deserts," she said. Subsequently she staged a solo exhibition in Delhi. In 1999 she received the Indira Gandhi priyadarshini Award for her achievements and contributions. HelpAge India, a charitable  organisation for the less privileged elderly, has selected her work for its New Year cards.

This year from August 10 to 14, Madhu participated by invitation in the Art Exhibitron for International Peace at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space, Nishi- Ikebukuro. From Sep 6 to 13 her collection will be featured as an event of the 509th anniversary of India-Japan Diplomatic Relations.. Under the patronage of the Indian Embassy, it will be presented in the embassy hall. From Tokyo it will go on to Singapore.

From this major exhibition, Madhu said," I have used the `sumi-e' technique to apint Rajasthanimagery. Amongst 45 works my subjects include camels and peacocks, palaces and forts, donkeys in harness,women carrying water, desert festivals. Twenty smaller paintings are of flowers, most of them from my garden. My sons and daughter-in law who live in San Francisco, are coming to Tokyo for the inauguration of the exhibition. I take great pride in my family, who have always been a source of big support and encouragement to me.

top of page.gif (2213 bytes)