The Indian Artist: Blossoming in Adversity

Hello everyone! I hope that you are all doing well and midterm exams were successful for you all! I took a break last week but I am back to the regularly scheduled program. This week I wanted to share a very personal piece and the story behind it with all of you. Interestingly, oil paint is the one medium that has always intimidated me and that I have shied away from. However, this piece, done in oil paint, is one of my favorite pieces and very close to my heart.

Just as the Plum Blossom pushes through the snow and the ice, flourishing, permeating the air with its beautiful smelling perfume, so has my father. Exuding an air of perseverance, endurance, strength, and commitment, my father has pushed back against many obstacles, whether internal or external, and has thrived. Facing depression and family conflicts, he has learned to push back harder when times get tough. In my piece, I portray a tree growing in a climate of darkness and turmoil. Despite the pain and adversity surrounding the tree, it is in full bloom and flourishes in a harsh environment.

My father was born and raised in India and lost his mother at a very young age. Through hard work and perseverance, my father made his way to the United States on a full scholarship for college and graduate school. He started a family and has, against many odds and difficulties, keeps us intact.

Growing up in a family with strict traditional ideals and rules and personal misgivings, I have overcome my own inner challenges. I have devoted myself to becoming better while using my father as a role model. I have dedicated this piece to my father, the one who understands me and pushes me to be better, the one who understands pain and empathizes with everyone around him, the one who has lost so much but made so much out of it. Like the Plum Tree, the harsher the conditions the more buds come into bloom. I have pushed through my personal adversity to blossom, following my father’s lead. Through his guidance and love, I have come to find the beauty in adversity, the beauty in my culture and religion, and the strength to push through a sometimes difficult personal life. 

This piece, done with oil paint on canvas board with dimensions of 18″x24″ mimics the nature of a flower blooming in the winter… a lotus floating atop muddy water. It is a piece very close to my heart and holds such an important message that I keep with me always. My father is my hero and has taught me so much. I hope that you all enjoyed this week’s post! As always if anything that I discussed in this post stands out or if any questions arise please feel free to comment and share your thoughts.

Looking forward to next Sunday!


~ Riya



Riya A

My name is Riya and I am currently a Freshman at Umich. Art has been a huge passion of mine from a very young age and in this column, I look forward to sharing my perspectives and outlooks on life through my personal work!

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