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A Conversation with Sketchbooks

Thoughts from the studio

Arpita Singh

Quarantine or not, the days are the same for me. Working and reading and gossiping. Although there is not much to gossip about. Since human beings are not around much, there are a lot of birds almost all the time. Or maybe because the winter is gone and I find them busy collecting materials for their home to welcome (!) the babies who will be arriving soon. It is fun to watch how they get busy in this baby rearing business. Good that they don’t have a collective education centre. Everything is very individual.

By the way, there was a picture of a peacock (sorry peahen actually) roaming on the streets of Nizamuddin in the newspaper. And of course, one has to keep track of what is happening to which tree. The young mango tree in front of our house is laden with mango blossoms. Wonder how long they will last! One dust storm, and half the tree will be empty.

I was also occupied with a book by Montek Singh. Now that it is finished, I’m reading a biography of Dilip Kumar. I have already read it several times, but then I am a big fan. The other hero of mine, Novak Djokovich, is not in the news nowadays. Since all sports activities are cancelled, he too has retired to the rest room.

In the evenings, the sketch books start a conversation. So another activity begins. And , all the time, any time, Ella is there on the other end of the telephone. Art, literature, politics, history, archaeology, garden and grocery, to discuss any thing, she is right there.

So my quarantine has turned into a football ground with goalposts set anywhere. ANYWHERE.


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This is part of a series called ‘Thoughts from the Studio’ initiated by the Vadehra Art Gallery, Delhi. Published here in collaboration with the gallery.

Described as a figurative artist and a modernist, Delhi-based Arpita Singh still makes it a point to stay tuned in to traditional Indian art forms and aesthetics, like miniaturist painting and different forms of folk art, employing them in her work regularly. Since her first solo exhibition in 1972 at Kunika Chemould Gallery, New Delhi, Singh’s work has been featured regularly in shows of Indian art held in the country and internationally. She has also won several awards including at the 1981–82 All-India Drawing Exhibition in Chandigarh, the 1987 Algeria Biennale, and the 1991 Parishad Samman from the Sahitya Kala Parishad, New Delhi.