“A career choice can never diffuse a fire that has been burning for so long,” says Bahaar Dhawan Rohatgi, a lawyer by profession, who bloomed overnight as an artist after she quit her full-time job. We caught up with her to learn more about her journey through the Indian art-scape. By Radhika Sikaria

 

Rohatgi’s colleagues at her law firm had already started investing in her artwork back in 2012, kicking off her nascent market and fuelling her desire to switch professions. “It was this one day at work, in 2015, I was consumed by the most indescribable feeling. Almost as though one hardened part of my head insisted on pushing my psyche out  of gear. That’s when I knew I had to stop juggling law and art.” She quit her job, put in a month’s hard work and launched her first exhibition in May 2015. It was an instant success. Today, she is an independent lawyer by day and artist by night, has three collections to her credit—Interstellar, Inner Reflection, and The Nocturnal series—she travels for inspiration, and is a part of an ongoing campaign to simplify the legislation related to Art Law in India. She likes foraying into different mediums, layering her paintings, and, in principle, being limitless.

 

Fauna With Funk Series
Hindu mythology has for long portrayed the owl as the vehicle of Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth. It has led devotees in northern India to capture and slaughter the bird with the intention of bringing or retaining their wealth. “As part of the #SaveTheOwl campaign, I began painting and creating owls in different forms, hoping that people realise that they can experience the ‘superpowers’ of the bird by investing in artwork instead of causing harm to the bird.”

 

 

Bahaar Dhawan Rohatgi,

 

 

Drawn From Inspiration
“Scandinavian countries such as Sweden and Iceland have a very unique art aesthetic, which I like; Japan, too, has had a huge influence on my work.”

 

 

Bahaar Dhawan Rohatgi
Most-Loved Space
“I frequently visit London and love the Tate gallery that houses the national collection of British art. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is another favourite for its collection of contemporary artworks from around the world.”

 

 

Bahaar Dhawan Rohatgi

 

 

Travel & Art

Her works are a culmination of her travel experiences, be it nature, people, faces, crafts, clothes, or terrain. “I collect local
pigments from construction sites, spice markets, and forests, and source art material from local shops. The resulting artworks are a documentation of my life and not just my current frame of mind.”

 

 

Bahaar Dhawan Rohatgi

 

 

Cherry Blossom 
“Sitting in a high-speed train in Japan, soaking up the fluid, blurry scenes of the cherry blossom, all I managed to register were the fleeting impressions messing with my head. Since I could not resist reliving the moment, I attempted to recreate the visuals using mixed media on canvas. Another attempt to translate my travel into art can be seen in my Nordic Drift series. The fjords in Norway had a huge impact on me and I created frost-like formations using salts from Iceland, as well as plastic and resin with blue hues.”

 

 

Bahaar Dhawan Rohatgi