A brand new exhibition at the InTouch Gallery within the InTouch Integrated Chiropractic Spine Centre will be showcasing a selection of monochrome watercolour paintings and other mixedmedia artworks by Sunanda Docherty. FACT meets the talented artist behind the striking work…

SUNANDA DOCHERTY is an artist who has been designing and painting in various media for over 30 years. She is an MA (Hons) graduate in fashion design from the prestigious Central St. Martins College of Art, London. Her latest collection of work takes a fresh, dynamic perspective on the female form, inspired by her time in Bahrain. For most women, black clothing is a dominant colour throughout the region and can be seen by many as restrictive and limiting – Sunanda has observed the opposite.

By reflecting their individualism, she has captured the essence and soul of the women of Bahrain in a powerful and dramatic way. Sunanda’s latest exhibition will feature a collection of large-scale, black-themed watercolours and a range of smaller paintings. The colour and tones are inspired by the environment of the region – from the country’s rich culture and natural resources – to the modern angular landscape of glass and steel. Here, we chat with Sunanda to learn more…


Tell us about your journey into art…

My journey into art started when I was very young, nothing else mattered to me apart from drawing. I always had a pencil and sketchbook in my hands. On completing my BA hons at Edinburgh college of art in fashion design, I was accepted into St Martins School of Art, London (now central St Martins) where I studied for my MA in fashion design. During the course it enabled me to work with the best in the design world.

I lived and worked in London for six years, before moving back to Scotland to start a family. During this time I worked as a designer for a large M&S supplier. Subsequently, I started lecturing at Duncan of Jordanstone college of art at the university of Dundee, where I worked for 10 years as a lecturer in fashion and printed textiles.

Describe your artistic style…

My work is varied and I use as many materials as I can. But for this exhibition I have used watercolour, only black. I use this medium the most as I find it so flexible. Normally, people associate watercolour with landscapes, but I like to push it in a different direction, it can be subtle but I’ve used it to show its strength, it can give so much more depth to a painting, adding so many layers.

Tell us about some of the tools and techniques used in your artwork…

My work is stylised, I believe that imperfection is beautiful and this features in my work. The main part of this exhibition are the large A1 paintings that are intended to be striking, making a statement, just like the women and surroundings I see here in Bahrain.

Do you face any challenges being an artist in the Middle East?

I haven’t faced any difficult challenges yet so far in Bahrain, if anything I’ve been supported by everyone that I’ve met. Most challenges I usually face are from where I’m from, the UK. Some people only make judgements on what the international media feed them and some of it isn’t good and rarely positive. The use of black and the strong women in my paintings may scare a typical western audience; they may be oblivious to the hidden beauty I’m trying to portray in them.

As an artist, who or what inspires you to continue producing art?

Bahrain has a wealth of culture and I’ve only scratched the surface but I have been greatly influenced already. I recently began work on my next collection, which is inspired by the patterns and fabric of motherhood that I see on a daily basis.

What’s your advice for budding artists?

Everyday is an inspiration and I believe that is all how artists are. We think and see things differently; I picture scenarios in my mind and set them into my sketchbook as soon as I can. I’m not one for computers and don’t use them in my work. It’s a fantastic tool but you cannot get the same satisfaction when you feel the weight of the brush or pencil on paper, knowing how much pressure to give.

I’ve had students who have only used a computer and find difficulty in actually drawing. It’s fundamental for the new budding artist to go back to basics and get a feel for the pencil. I also believe in moving with the times, everything is available now, but simplicity, starting with the basics, can be the most effective. Learn from others, but preferably – get a good teacher!


GO: Power Through Expression was curated by Stafford and Sharabi and will be on display at InTouch Gallery until December 31. Visit www.sunandadochertyartist.com for more about the artist.