Indian housewives in UAE turn to art to unwind

Indian housewives in UAE turn to art to unwind

Dubai - Some of these women we're about to meet have studied engineering, some were bankers and even doctors. But nothing could beat their love for art.

By Kymberlee Fernandes and Lekshmy P

Published: Fri 5 Feb 2016, 12:23 PM

Last updated: Sun 7 Feb 2016, 7:21 PM

In today's day and age where many women like Facebook's COO, Sheryl Sandberg, think that "Men still rule the world", there are a few women who decided to stand out from the crowd.
A number of UAE-based housewives have been making time to pursue their passion which has now turned into a small home business where they share their art techniques with similarly eager people. Some of the women have not yet decided to go commercial with their art, but continue to inspire others.
Some of these women we're about to meet have studied engineering, some were bankers and even doctors. But all of these degrees and professions seem small where a love for art exists.

Priya Praveen

Once banker, now mom and artist

Priya Praveen is a 34-year-old Indian housewife and mother living in the UAE for the last 10 years. She worked extensively in the banking sector both in India and the UAE. "Way back in 2006 when I came to Dubai, I was a banker by profession, until I gave birth to my baby."
Motherhood is a full time job in itself, but what about pursuing your passion? Priya says, "For me working is an activity that produces something of value to the society, people and friends around me.  These activities could be paid or not."
Working to her is a way to express what she has in mind. Once she develops a concept, it becomes a mode of relations, and "finding time to reproduce your inner feeling is never time consuming. I believe in this and I always am energetic and enthusiastic as I switch between mother mode and artist mode."
From having a Master's degree in Commerce and working as an IT trainer for specialised accounts software packages after her graduation, Priya learned art during her college days. While she is well versed with glass painting, nib painting, fabric painting, metal engraving and metal embossing, she specialises in Kerala mural painting on canvas and fabric.  
In simple words Kerala mural paintings are frescos that depict mythology and legends, which are drawn on the walls of temples and churches in South India, mostly in Kerala.
Why art?
After chasing my passion in art, "Life has changed me in so many ways; society started recognizing me, especially when people are so busy.  I have changed from a normal day-to-day working lady to an entrepreneur."
She shares her knowledge with people who have shown interest in art. "I have never thought about it on a commercial angle and shared my knowledge by taking classes," she adds.
Most prized artwork

My very first art work (nib painting)
My first mural work on glass
My first Kerala mural painting on canvas

Kamna Angirash

Use your passion to overcome hard times

A young mom of twin boys in the UAE, Kamna Angirash always had an affinity towards art and dance since childhood.
In 2008 she got married and moved to Oman. For four years she was a housewife and had a lot of time on her hands. So she started "teaching dance to kids and started learning basic painting skills on the side."
Kamna studied Electronic and Communication Engineering. But she says, "Art and drawing was my passion pretty much from the time I could hold a crayon - but only as a hobby. Training as my formal art came later."
 Being mother of 3-year-olds is really tough to manage everything all alone, but "I am very passionate about my work, so I try to take time out when kids are sleeping or in school. Sometimes I work till late in the night."
Today, almost seven years later, she holds classes for women and kids and has also exhibited her work at Times Square through ARTE.
Why art?
"For me my art has become a meditation, I can find time for it anytime any day any moment, yes it has changed me, it has given me confidence, fame and appreciation", she says.
As an artist, a Zumba fitness instructor and kids yoga teacher, she has become an inspiration to many women.
"I believe a piece of art can ignite every human's soul. You can transform your circumstances into gold, instead of lamenting about your situations, engage yourself and find out where your talents are, don't forget to live for yourself."
Most prized artwork

Kamna enjoys moulding clay. "I am in love with clay art. I like all of my clay work as the final result is natural and real."
 I love clay flowers which look real.
A 3D Ganesha mural which I made, it's huge and is attractive.

Dr Asha Prakash
Art helps to live a more peaceful life
Living in the UAE for the last 20 years, Dr Asha Prakash is a former dentist who now dedicates most of her free time to painting and baking.
Seems like art runs in her family. Dr Asha, 53, says, "I am not professionally trained in art, but in my family my brother and sister also paint. When we were in school and college we used to participate in all types of art and crafts events."
With an interest in art since childhood, after joining the studies in medicine, "more importance was laid on studies."
Encouraged by her husband and son, what started as love for paintings today has developed into a passion for growing vegetables and baking.
"I don't find any difficulty in doing household work and painting. It all depends on how you manage your time. While painting I can sit at it for hours. I enjoy baking too. My house is like a small gallery. Friends come here to see the paintings."
She does sell her art to those interested, and holds workshops and classes occasionally.
Why art?
It helps in creating a more peaceful life.
Most prized artwork

Sree Rama Pattabhishekam and Lady with the mirror and pot (damayanthi) are the works I like the most. 

Shephali Jumhare

Art builds confidence

From a small town in Madhya Pradesh, India, Shephali Jumhare landed in UAE more than seven years ago. The 32-year-old is a mom of two, a housewife, and an MBA graduate.
Residing in Sharjah now, she conducts painting classes and art workshops for children and women. "My passion for drawing and painting began when I was three. I participated in many painting & drawing competitions and won accolades for my work. My parents, especially my mother always encouraged me."
She enjoys working on paintings with an ethnic Indian theme. "I especially like my experimental work with Indian traditional 'MITHILA' art", she says. Her work has been exhibited on various platforms in the UAE including ARTE: The makers market.
Why art?
"My life completely changed after doings these exhibitions and I got my confidence back", she asserts.
She lives by a simple rule which is "do something you love and are passionate about and good at, if you love what you do it doesn't feel like work. Don't just sit at home and be confined to the four walls. Take on a job, no matter big or small but also give some of your precious time for social work."
Most prized artwork

Vimana - When I made this piece my son was amazed to see that how a village man can ride a plane.
Dancing girls - At one of the ARTE exhibitions a lady visibly upset because of a divorce visited my stall; she wanted to fill her life with colour and chose this piece. I was so satisfied with my work that art can be a medium to give someone happiness.
We depend on you - When people looked at this piece they said this painting and the colours always inspire us; that without a tree our life would be really colourless. 

Heena Jain

Imagination can take you to another level

Heena Jain, a 25-year-old Indian is relatively new to the country as compared with the other housewives. In the UAE for about seven months, her talent has already got her receiving orders for her oil paintings.
She graduated as a Bachelor of Technology, and worked at an IT firm in India before she moved to the UAE. Without any formal education in art, she enrolled in art classes to polish her skills and widen her imagination.

On how she manages chores at home she says, "To do household errands is my duty and to be a big artist one day is my dream. I completely understand the difference between duty and dream and that keeps me going."
Why art?
After giving into her artsy side, she says, "I started loving and living my life with lots of colours and imagination. Imagination takes you to another level and the best part is now I know what to do with my life."
Most prized artwork

Krishna & Radha - It shows a deep sign & worship of pure love
A Horse - A white running horse to spread positivity in our daily life
Sufi painting - People lost in dance & music

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