A 22-year-old undergraduate student who recently completed her bachelor's degree in communication and media studies specializing in global studies, Shivani Sarawagi is currently pursuing an honors degree in communication and media studies at Monash University. Fascinated with colors from an early age, her work has appeared in the Fabriano Acquarello exhibition in Italy and the International Watercolor Society exhibition in Nepal.
How do you see colors and its impact on one’s life?
This vivid memory has stayed with me since the first time I held a crayon. At the age of three, I was experiencing a mid-life crisis because the color white would not show on my white paper, which I cried about to my parents. Looking back, this epiphany may not have been as dramatic, but I now see how I have grown to appreciate the colors of life and their connotations of profound psychological insights to people. This visual world of color that I have created in my mind—assigning certain traits to colors—has aided me in looking at life in a more perceptive way. It is also pivotal to my emotional connection; memories of my childhood and time spent with family and friends. I now associate the color white with consistency and something that will always stay because of its purity and the way it always surrounds us.
Who are some of your favorite artists who inspire you?
More than artists, I believe that what surrounds me inspires my work, specifically the buildings and architecture around me. What inspires me is visiting places like Patan and Basantpur, where houses and temples have beautifully engraved stone and wood work with intricate patterns. I've always admired the handicraft of intricate details because it somehow resonates with how life is.
What is it about Nepali art that keeps you hooked?
Nepali art has cultural roots, and culture has always been something that most Nepalis have celebrated and taken pride in. I have always admired how well culture is depicted in Nepali art. I appreciate how heritage and culture are almost always entwined in the art work, providing a sense of belonging and identity. Furthermore, the natural and earthy colors used in most Nepali artwork reflect the country's beauty.
Your favorite piece till date?
It's a mixed-media painting (oil and acrylic). This is my favorite artwork to date because, first and foremost, I had a great time creating it, and it also represents a part of me. It took me about a month to make this painting. This painting represents my ancestry and upbringing. Having Indian (Marwadi) ancestors, but being born in Nepal and living here, both cultures have morphed for me. I'm not just an Indian or Nepali girl; figuring out who I am has been difficult.
This painting is a representation of my gradual acceptance of both cultures. The arched door is from a well-known Nepali temple, and the door inside is from a fort I visited in India. I haven't fully understood or identified myself, which is why the door is closed.