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Friday, July 28, 2017

Gemini Vaghela's Nature exhibition in Nairobi


Nature is something close to Gemini Vaghela, as shown in her recent exhibition at the Karen Country Club.

“Nature is the inspiration while reflecting on the positives like how we need water but at the same time we pollute it with man-made chemicals,” Gemini says, adding that she highlighted nature elements in her paintings as a way to sensitise her audience over the abuse caused by modernisation.

In Cascade, she uses the hues of blue to capture the calm flow of water. Just as in her other paintings, Gemini opts for textured canvas that allows her to get the effect she wanted.

“I use a lot of paint to create thick textures so that you can feel the painting as well as see it. Another reason for the texture is to show the flow like water, the trees in the forest, the crackling of fire in a forest,” she adds.

In Fiery, Gemini focuses on the crackling fires in the forest as a way to highlight the destruction of natural resources. With varying degrees of red and yellow, she is able to set the canvas ablaze.

The process takes her a few weeks as she needs to allow each layer of paint to dry before adding colour. This is seen in Daybreak, where Gemini tries to capture the changing skyline using different colours in a combination that is both soothing and provoking.

Gemini gets her inspiration from different sources including travelling, photography of nature scenes or sometimes pictures she sees online, environmental issues faced by the world.

“I was part of the UN zero hunger challenge exhibition in Italy, Expo Milano, last year. It made me think more about human impact on the resources and how they are affecting our long term sustainability,” she says.

Aside from the canvas, Gemini also hand-paints jewellery, which she sees as another creative outlet that is affordable for people who cannot buy her paintings. She also dabbles in graphic design but on very rare occasions.

“Graphic design is only when I get a specific job, so I don't usually focus on this too much since my interest is a lot more on creating mixed media paintings,” she adds, adding that all the different creative outlets work hand in hand since she is trained in multimedia.

“There's always a part of me that needs to create something on the computer from time to time,” she says.

Apart from working on her paintings, she has also curated a few exhibitions, a process she describes as “exciting”.

“This was an exciting process from finding a venue to selecting artists and artworks for certain themes. The challenge is always trying to co-ordinate it all as well as trying to keep painting,” she says.

Her main challenge in curating has been to find venues to exhibit.

“Venues are getting harder to find, with galleries doing collaborations with hotels and other spaces. This means that independent artists who want to hold exhibitions are usually sidelined,” she adds.

Since this has slowed down the number of exhibitions she has organised, she is working on finding appropriate venues and events that will give artists the exposure they need.

"I'm now looking for corporate events to set up art installations so that I can bring art to the business people who can't visit exhibitions," she concludes.

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