Bird watching and painting were the only two things that city-based painter Manisha Padhye was most interested in since her childhood days. She soon learned to merge the two and began painting birds. With her first exhibition held at Nehru Center,Mumbai,in 1998,Padhye has had much experience in painting birds of various species. So much so that one of her paintings,of a Paradise Flycatcher,was chosen for the Birds in Art 2010,an annual exhibition held at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wisconsin,USA.
The art museum has many events throughout the year,but this Bird in Art is their flagship exhibition held in the first week of September. About 700 artistes,including sculptors and actors,who put up dramatic shows,are selected by a jury to present their work. The museum management treats us like royalty and it is a great opportunity to meet other artists from across the world and see their work, says Padhye,who is exhibiting her works at Darpan Art Gallery till June 25.
This year again,her painting of an African weaver bird has been selected to be displayed at the event. How she came across the bird is a memory she enjoys reliving. On a trip to Kenya last August,she was waiting at the gate of Maasai Mara National Reserve,a wildlife park in Narok County,when her eyes fell on the bird perched on a bush nearby. I did not need binoculars to see every detail of the bird and quickly took a few photographs,simultaneously making mental sketches, says Padhye. She describes the bird as one of the most beautiful ones she has sketched. The painting has already been sent to the museum and Padhye will also be visiting Wausau in September.
Though the wildlife enthusiast has been close to nature and participated in many treks and safaris,the trip to Kenya has left her with experiences she never thought possible. As soon as I stepped out of the airport,I saw a majestic giraffe walking on the road. It was like I had flown to some fantasy land where such animals can walk wild and free as they live in harmony with human beings, says Padhye.
About the works she is now exhibiting in the city a series of paintings of birds and wild animals the artist says that these have also been inspired by the adventures in Kenya.