Self-taught Indian artist Ella Prakash has a real gift of art, which she uses to create impressive pieces highlighting strokes, complementing colours, and being creative.Ella shares her exciting journey of ups and downs with FACT’s Pallavi Ramesh.
There is art that can truly render you speechless and Ella’s art is of such a kind. After visiting one of her shows, I was in awe of this artist and was curious to learn more about where she began and how she nurtures her talent. As expected, she had an inspirational story to share.
“I was born and brought up in Bahrain, it’s been 52 years now” she says, proudly. Ella’s appetite for art stems back to her childhood, when she was just 10 years old. But, her father saw it more as a hobby than a career. “I had a goal of becoming a well-known artist, and the passion to reach it was sky high,” she recalls. “At the age of 16, I joined the Bahrain Arts Society, where I put up group shows.” Here, Ella sold her first water colour painting to the Saudi Ambassador to Bahrain. “It was a proud moment, where I felt people appreciate my art and, yes, I can create great pieces of art,” Ella shares. After this boost, she had a downslide for the next three years – a break she didn’t want to take. After this, Ella got married and painting took a backseat. “It was a huge pull up for me in terms of art; my family became my priority,” she admits.
In 2002, Ella started to feel the pinch of the absence of art in her life: “It was a jolt, a realisation, that this can’t be happening – I had a dream and I need to pursue it,” she tells us. “So, I started taking classes and teaching art to all age groups in Chinmaya society.” Teaching was not easy, and Ella had her fair share of struggles with it. After two years of teaching she discussed with her family about opening her own art gallery, and in 2004 this conversation became a reality with the launch of Ella’s Art Gallery, Adliya.
“My dream and passion is to become a successful international artist,have the world to understand my message through my paintingand also be listed among the best contemporary artists”
A few years later, as Bahrain to a step foward onto the international stage so did Ella’s art. One call from Bahrain International Circuit got her excitement levels high, a memory she treasures until this day. It was in 2006, the first year of Formula One in Bahrain when Ella was asked do live shows at various locations. “The task was to create 10 paintings in 10 days,” she smiles. “I had to paint in front of a live audience, and it was a wonderful opportunity. I was excited to take up this big challenge,” she adds.
The talented lady very clearly remembers her first show too. “It was themed around Bahraini Heritage, done in water colours and acrylics,” Ella says. This show was a huge success, people loved Ella’s art and this in turn boosted her confidence in the field further.
If you take the time to observe Ella’s art carefully, you’ll see shades, silhouettes and figures of women represented in the pieces. This is something that Ella feels very strongly about. “I always want to portray women as strong and powerful individuals,” she says. “I try to incorporate this in most of my paintings.” In 2010, Ella created a complete collection titled Journey of a Woman, which portrayed various dimensions of women and included bright orange and yellow colours, keeping an Indian theme.
Ella displays her art around the world, and one of the destinations close to her heart is the UK. “I came to London for a group show in 2013, and on my visit I met Samir Ceric,the Founder and CEO of Debut Contemporary,” Ella recalls. “He explained to me how Debut works, and since then Samir has been my mentor and motivator.” Debut Contemporary opens an opportunity to understand the art market of London with a broad lens on the human experience. Ella says: “Debut has given me tremendous support. It has been a turning point in my career and I can see my work has become stronger.”
Ella recently had her solo exhibition with Debut Contemporary titled Alleviation in London. With collaborations between Bo concept and Debut Contemporary, one of Ella’s works – Energy – is currently displayed at the Bo Concept store.
Ella is preparing for her upcoming solo show in Nehru Centre, London and then in India Habitat Centre, Delhi, which will happen in early 2016. She is one busy woman who has really found her calling in life: “My dream and passion is to become a successful international artist, have the world to understand my message through my paintings, and also be listed among the best contemporary artists,” she adds. From what we know of Ella Prakash so far, I’m sure she’s on her way to even greater things.
GO: Ella’s Art Gallery is located in Adliya, Bahrain. Visit www. ellaartgallery.com to browse through Ella’s beautiful paintings and learn more about her artistic journey.