Anjali B Purkayastha is a marketer by profession but an artist by choice. Born in India, she specialises in ink drawings inspired by Indian folk art. Anjali has exhibited in Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, India and the UK. Here, she tells us how art helped her though a difficult period of upheaval and new motherhood...

I was born and brought up in India. Art and craft were an embedded part of my growing years. When I think of my childhood, I can remember how art was the “go-to” in any scenario - family gatherings, holidays, or just plain boredom.

In hindsight, I can see how it was my retreat from the anxieties that come with the transitions of growing up - quite simply, it was an escape from the world. But it never occurred to me that I could take up art as a profession. To me, it was something I did when I didn’t have anything better to do or when I just needed a break.

I finished school and college and went on to work in the corporate sector for 10 years. The work was considered prestigious and socially acceptable. During this time, I got married and moved to Singapore with my husband. Even though it was a new country - I was newly married and had a full-time job - I was occupied and happy!

Anjali B Purkayastha, Ray of sunshine

Anjali B Purkayastha, Ray of sunshine

We created a beautiful home in Singapore and had our son there. But just a few months after he was born, my husband decided to move jobs. Suddenly, things became uncertain - I was leaving behind the stable life that I knew and had lovingly created to move to an unknown country. We were moving to Korea - a country where I had no friends or family and didn’t understand the culture or the language. On top of that, I was left grappling with my newfound status of being a full-time, stay-at-home mum. I felt lost without a sense of identity or being.

It was a tough phase.

It wasn’t surprising then that in this time of uncertainty, I went back to what came naturally to me - art! I started experimenting with art, mostly using traditional patterns from art forms that I had been exposed to as a child. Each pattern flowed effortlessly into another, giving an outlet to my bottled-up emotions and anxieties. My worries were now visual stories composed entirely of a vocabulary of repeat patterns.

Art became my retreat from the mundane chores of life. Everything felt better. I was able to break the cycle of resentment and pessimism that was consuming me and being passed on to my family.

Slowly, I started drawing regularly, experimenting with art forms of Korea and even managed to have a solo exhibition of my work in Seoul.

My original work was inspired by the folk arts of India because that’s what I had seen growing up. Styles like Mithila and Gond typically narrate daily life or epics using themes of nature and visuals of divinity. Created typically by women, these art forms were a social activity - women taking a break from chores and enjoying the companionship of creating something beautiful with other people - all possible unintentional links to wellbeing.

My happy place was now my desk - where I found solace. While creating art, I listened to meditative music, something that fits right into this world of repeated patterns. I felt the positive vibrations of this music flowing not only into my heart but also into my art. Through art, I regained self-confidence and self-worth, something that I had lost along the way.

Seven years and two more countries later, I can confidently say that it was this outlet that made me not only accept changes but also adapt to them positively. What once challenged me, created the opportunity to expand my mind and experiment.

Now, I feel better equipped to handle the rapid changes of our dynamic lifestyle in London. The gift that art has really given me is that ‘change’ is an inspiration instead of a limiting experience.

Anjali B Purkayastha, YogArt postcards

Anjali B Purkayastha's Yog.Art hand drawn colouring postcards

Art has seen me through trying times and I wanted to create an experience for people who may be facing challenging situations in their lives. I designed colouring postcards for adults using my signature style of repetitive patterns. These postcards provide an outlet for people to practise meditation and mindfulness. I specifically went with the visuals of yoga, as people can sense the serenity of these postures, which helps them focus deeper.

I continue to practice my art for my own wellbeing and hope that the visuals bring along calmness for anyone who sees them. In this overly connected world that we live in today, I want my work to help people disconnect and focus on themselves in that moment.

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Anjali B Purkayastha is currently based in London with her husband and son. She will be exhibiting at the Landmark Art Fair from 18-19 May 2019. You can find out more about Anjali's work by following her on Instagram (@anjalibpurkayastha).