The Indian Artist: Empowerment from Creation

Hi everybody!! I hope that you are all well and that midterm week wasn’t too terrible. I realize that I missed posting last week. Things have just been very crazy and stressful as of late and I needed to give myself a little bit of a break. This post is going to be one of my more deep ones where I discuss some of my inner feelings and how my art has served as an antidote time and time again.

Though I am a sophomore, I tell everybody that I feel like a complete freshman. It is my first time on campus, my first time living on my own where I am completely responsible for my own actions, decisions, and how I choose to spend my time. This has proven a lot more difficult than I had previously anticipated. Though I welcome the newfound independence as it is something that I have yearned for my entire life (especially coming from a stringent upbringing), the load of my coursework mixed with extracurriculars has been overwhelming, driving me to the point of burnout.

My salvation has been my art. In today’s post, I will share with you how empowering my art has been for me and how my most recent piece has helped me to maintain a level of composure, self-confidence, and strength.

Over the summer I got an unshakable idea for a new art piece. I have been tying my culture into my art for the past few years and wanted to continue the trend by doing a piece on Holi, the Festival of Colors. I had a clear vision of what I wanted to create and was luckily able to find a reference picture that fit my basic plan where I could improvise as much as I wanted. It was going to be the most technique-advanced piece that I had ever done and I had absolutely no expectations going into it. I genuinely did not believe that I would be able to pull it off but I went ahead and gave it a shot anyway. The result was overwhelmingly empowering. This piece was something that I really needed. After the terribly difficult time that school has been, moving out and living on my own for the first time, and feeling quite alone, completing this piece showed me that I am stronger than I give myself credit for and can achieve more than I expect myself to be able to. This is the power of art. It has a way of showing us who we are, who we can be, and what we can do. So this piece, titled The Festival of Colors, is my favorite piece to date. Done in colored pencil and acrylic paint, it details a woman dancing in ecstasy covered in the powdered color as is the tradition during this beautiful festival.

I hope you all enjoyed today’s post, it was so cathartic for me to write about and this piece was even more cathartic to create! 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!

To learn more about Holi, here is a previous blog post I wrote all about it!!


Looking forward to next Monday!


~ Riya


Personal website:

Riya A

My name is Riya and I am currently a Senior at U of M studying Molecular Biology with a double minor in Art & Design and Sociology on the pre-med track. Art has been a huge passion of mine from a very young age and in the final iteration of my column, I look forward to sharing my passions as they connect to my culture, medicine, and art.

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2 Comments on "The Indian Artist: Empowerment from Creation"

2 years 5 months ago

That painting is outstanding! Love the realism and the colors and the whole concept!