Nandhini Mohan: Art With A Heart

Posted by on Nov 23, 2010 | Leave a Comment

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Many people in Devonport will recognise Nandhini Mohan from the chilled foods department of New World – but most will be unaware that this unassuming lady is also a prolific artist with a passion to help underprivileged children . Nandhini’s new exhibition ‘Connecting the dots to the Next Generation’ opens on Saturday at The Depot’s Outerspace Gallery and showcases her newest work.

Nandhini was born and grew up in Sri Lanka, moving to New Zealand in the early 2000s. Many of her family however moved to India and it was whilst visiting them that she became interested in painting and decided to have a go herself. Nandhini says watching women paint inspired her to start her own Indian-style ‘dot’ paintings, where the canvas is inititally covered with a series of dots which form a grid. The dots are then connected in intricate patterns and bright colours, painstakingly producing beautiful and eye catching canvases.

It was during this phase of her artistic development that I first came across Nandhini, and I was privileged to be invited to her home to see her artwork. Needless to say, I was impressed at the sheer technicality and effort put into each painting. More recently, however, she has turned her attention to what she describes as ‘flow’  paintings, and it is these works which feature in the new exhibition. Most of the canvases contain a narrative, with themes of the natural world and humanity’s effect on it predominating. However, nature is never seen as impotent, and the power of volcanoes, earthquakes, the sun and the sea are strongly depicted. These paintings are very different in style and feel to her earlier work, in that the rigidity and perfect symmetry of the dot paintings has given way to powerful ‘flows’ of paint on canvas, of colours mingling and joining, and of shapes merging, here indistinct, there clearly defined.

Nandhini’s work is not just an outlet for her creativity or own enjoyment however. She has a long-held dream to help children, specifically in India, and on trips to visit her family she has done her research. She believes land is cheap enough in certain areas for her to buy and build a children’s home, and her paintings are one way in which she intends to raise the funds. Whilst admitting this could be a long, slow process, she is prepared for it: “I’m hoping to help provide underprivileged children with food, basic education and self-sufficient, sustainable living conditions.  I am investing the proceeds of my art into this project”.

We wish Nandhini well with her exhibition and her dream.

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