Oct 30, 2014

It blew my mind

​On my last visit to a Gallery in Mumbai, a painting left me thinking…

The year was 1980 and S. H. Raza painted something that was a swirling mass of colour – violent and broken. He termed that painting ‘Witness/Darshak’. The tag underneath the painting at the gallery says ‘Acrylic on lino carpet – 46.5 X 46.5 in.(118.1 X 118.1 cms)’.

But it looked like it was painted on three strips of different material.  Something that looked like leather, then canvas and the last was the carpet. Why is that important? Mainly as it begs the question why? Why the different materials, the many layers and strips? That painting blew my mind. I am not even sure I like that work or would want it hanging anywhere in my home. But I am compelled to ask – What was he thinking when he painted it? Was it pain or anger? Did it prove cathartic or was it a festering sore. The name an artist chooses to give his/her work is often profound. Without that name, this painting to me would have been a nameless faceless abstract. Something that meant the artist threw colour around and was done with it. It may well have been a celebration for all I know.

To me the words witness and Darshak don’t mean the same thing. There is a subtle difference. Darshak could be just a spectator but witness is someone who actually was present when an event or conversation unfolded. So did Raza mean he was a witness to something or is the viewer of his painting witnessing something? Or are we all silent spectators to an event that he is documenting on canvas? This and many such questions are why art is engaging to me. Why it is compelling and worth looking into. It is that which holds a society together; it’s past, present and future.

At the same gallery there were a few nudes – painted by very famous people. And I found myself so far removed from the depiction that I was a little overwhelmed by my ‘detachment’ to art. If it were a woman who had painted those – my question to her would have been “how do you even get up every morning?” they were ugly and grotesque, even morbid. Now you may wonder why I choose to denigrate an artist’s vision after what I have just loftily claimed in the last paragraph. Well precisely because I can.  It is because I have a point of view and it obviously does not gel with the artists in this case. Phew! And thank god for that. That is also what art is about. It is open to interpretation, ridicule and yes, you can scoff at it. Just as long as it is what you truly feel.

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ArtByAarohi-TheHomeLabel-GiveAway2014-nimboo mirchi
Sep 30, 2014

Give Away Alert! – With ‘The Home Label’- Diwali 2014

I am happy to announce a give away in association with The Home Label this Diwali. And equally thrilled to see my artwork styled by Sussanne Khan Roshan for their walls :-)




I had a wonderful time at the launch of their label in Jan 2013 with champagne and canapes. So when they asked me for a give away print, the answer was obvious :-)
So how have you updated your walls for this festive season? Send in a picture
to ‘The Home Label’ and you get a chance to win a print of my Nimboo mirchi painting.

It really is that simple!!

Send your pictures with the hash tags #diwaliwithsussanne and #aarohiforthehomelabel on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter handle is ‘The Home Label’ and show them how you’ve updated your walls for the festivities.
Contest ends on Monday 6th October.

ArtByAarohi-TheHomeLabel-GiveAway2014-nimboo mirchi


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Sep 6, 2014

The Curated Magazine – September 2014

My work and I feature on the cover and within the pages of the September 2014 issue of ‘The Curated Magazine’.

And I am thrilled. For two reasons – one because this is the first time that a person has been featured on the cover of this magazine and two because Priya Iyer, released a sneak peak of the cover a few weeks in advance so that she could talk about the launch of my furniture show last month.

Thank you Priya Iyer. I am indeed humbled at your introduction of my work…



Screenshots from the magazine (click to see a larger version): Please note these are just for reference. To read the article without straining your eyes :-)  – go here.

ArtByAarohi-TheCuratedMagazine-Pg1      ArtByAarohi-TheCuratedMagazine-Pg2

ArtByAarohi-TheCuratedMagazine-Pg3      ArtByAarohi-TheCuratedMagazine-Pg4



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Aug 21, 2014

Now at – The Purple Turtle Store – 23rd August 2014

I am delighted to share with you all that my line of up-cycled and painted furniture will now be available at The Purple Turtle store here in Indira Nagar, Bangalore, India.

TPT- Invite-ArtByAarohi-aug23-chairs

So why am I reworking old pieces –

‘My work is about connections. And the idea of using something already existing and infusing it with fresh perspective to enhance pre existing memories on a given piece is really what dreams are made of for me. With each of these pieces that I rework I am looking to add a newer more contemporary dimension to an old weather beaten piece. A box, a chair, a trunk. Something that has history in its very grain, the nuts and bolts, the handles that maybe broke because of the strain of carrying a lifetime of someone’s personal belongings.
I don’t particularly like the term vintage to describe what I work with – covered in layers of history seems truer. It may have to do with the fact that I hold a Masters degree in History.

Memory and story are important to me. They connect.

The lines and colour on a re worked piece may appear disjointed in terms of theme sometimes but they are a true reflection of the idea or thought I may have had at the time I reworked a piece. Like everyone else I am not uni dimensional and with the information over load of all kinds of media being available 24/7, I find myself delving into nostalgia in an effort to stayed rooted. It is not done for market sensibilities but to reflect my thought. I believe that there is that one soul somewhere who will connect to the piece and it will find a home. One where it is lovingly looked after.

You can read about the story behind some of the pieces here, here and here.

Some of these pieces will also be available at the ongoing Art Bengaluru exhibition on at UB City here in Bangalore from the 21st of August to the 30th.

There will additionally be some of my earlier work of painted kettles and the like. The reason I am not leading with this next image is because it would give you all the wrong impression about what I have been working on. It has been a while since I painted on kettles (other than custom pieces that is). BUT this invite is so cute with its play on  ‘Chai with Aarohi‘ and the chai kettle and gilaas that I thought I would share it anyway :-)

TPT- Invite-ArtByAarohi-aug23-kettle

(Though the people at the store were not too happy with me when I asked them to rework the invite. But they were very sweet about it and redid it anyway!)

So come on over – I would love to meet you all…
The address is -
The Purple Turtle store,
128, 1st Main,
Domlur 2nd Stage,
Indiranagar, Bengaluru -560008,
Karnataka, India.
Phone numbers- +9141528039

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Aug 6, 2014

Femina – August 2014

My work and I feature in the August 2014 issue of Femina. This time I am in august ‘er’ company.
Shubra from Chumbak; Karishma Shahani, a fashion designer; Ruby Hebrom, a publisher; Vinita Sidhartha from Kreeda  and Guneet Monga a film producer.


( I love that they used my art to fill up the word ‘re-discovery in the title of the story. With my love for connections and memories, my work on this word is almost serendipitous.)

I got an email a few weeks ago from Rajashree about wanting to do a feature on my work for the August issue. She tells me that Femina is going to feature six women inspired by India and I am ashamed to say that my cynical self came to the fore, I had this déjà vu thingy happen- ‘Ok – so yet another feature on ‘kitsch’.

But wonders never cease. Rajashree asked me the most basic questions and said she would get the rest from my blog/website. She said that my philosophy in life and work came through very well across the blog. Thank you so much Rajashree Balaram for a really balanced write up on my work. I do appreciate the effort you took to actually go through my site :-)

ArtByAarohi-femina-AUG2014-cover    ArtByAarohi-femina-AUG2014-article

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Jul 29, 2014

They are all women!! – Purvi Sanghvi

Purvi Sanghvi. The Other Side. Creative. Talented. Someone who actually does think out of the box. She makes jewellery out of nibs. As in ink pen nibs!!

Purvi Sanghvi - ArtByaarohi

It is been a while since I posted about those that make up effortless friendships in my life – I met Purvi through a mutual friend on an online forum. Our interaction was limited but I found myself in awe of the work she does.
On a trip to Mumbai I called and told her I would be in town and would she like to meet for chai. She not only met me, she drove across Mumbai to pick me up! We shared lunch and a very honest conversation on life in general. That was the start of my effortless friendship with her. She is one absolutely astounding person. Open and very very talented.

I am going to let her tell you her story in her own words.



What is your educational back ground?

I studied Bcom and then did a Diploma in Business Management. After completing the DBM  I learned something which I had been wanting to do since school – pottery. I studied and trained in the way of several short courses in pottery in India, Andretta and in the UK , Sandy Brown and Douglas Phillips at Somerset

The urge to learn pottery took me to various places and was the catalyst that fired my interest in travel, culture, people, food. Travel opened my eyes to many different cultures across the world. The exposure during my travel to learn pottery has stayed with me even now.

Purvi Sanghvi_Flight3  Purvi Sanghvi_Flight

Any educational background in Jewellery Design?

While studying production pottery at Andretta, with Mansimran Singh  I came across clay buttons made by a  young village man who used to visit the studio and sit around chatting with us. After finishing the course I came back and set up a studio in our garage. I made lots of clay jewellery along with functional ware and even exhibited some of my work. In fact I exhibited at Tokoname, Japan.

After a few years  I came to a stage in life and work where I felt stuck with my skills and saw no growth or future.  It was a hard time for me and an extremely low phase in my life. It was by chance that I applied for the MA course while on a holiday in London and got an opportunity to study.

Again the  exposure of living on my own for the first time in a different country and studying was initially overwhelming but I settled in after a while. The unbelievable contemporary jewellery and the fact that there are actually no boundaries of use of material was freeing .

During the course of my study and stay in London, I met some very interesting people and a few not so interesting as well :) . However, I realized humans are the ‘same’ all over the world. My teacher Mah Rana has been a very big inspiration and I appreciate that she had the patience with me during the course :)

I did MA jewellery design from John Cass Dept of Art and Design , London Metropolitan University, London.

Why this particular name for your brand?

Purvi Sanghvi_LogoMy work does not involve traditional jewellery as is familiar with most people in India. The Other Side represents the other ‘face’ of jewellery. In india people are so enamoured  with silver, gold and diamonds that any jewellery made from anything other than these materials is regarded as ‘fake, or ‘imitation’ and is more often than not looked down upon. I find these words very degrading to the meaning of ‘Jewellery’. Jewellery is a personal object that you wear on your body and which should represent and reflect you, your thoughts, your beliefs and not just your financial status. I believe it can be worn by anyone and everyone but the person wearing the piece should be able to connect with what they are wearing.

However, I don’t say that you should not wear the diamonds, gold and silver, I am just saying please don’t think that jewellery made from things other than gold, silver, precious stones and diamonds is in any way ‘poor’, shameful or not worth the money!

I am happy that people like my jewellery and can connect with it.The Other Side  jewellery is not conventional jewellery though it is wearable and designed keeping in mind the norms of jewellery.

What is the process involved – concept to creation?

The materials inspire me to start work and simultaneously the concept is derived on. I don’t usually sketch the designs. However, when there are many variations and ideas which I can’t remember, I feel the need to  draw and refer to them at the time of creating. I believe I would position myself midway between a craft person and a designer.

I sometimes get attached to a particular piece or design and I am passionate about making the piece by myself. I am picky about finish and I cannot sell a piece which is not finished well. I would be too embarrassed if a potential  buyer found a flaw in construction. I am always striving to find jewellery fittings of good quality and material.

Purvi Sanghvi_Spirit2  Purvi Sanghvi_Spirit

Do you individually hand craft each piece or do you have karigars…

I do the knotting of the threads and stringing myself. Only when the piece is finished does the patwa come into the picture to do the dori/ghundi work. Although he has taught me the art of making the tassel as well I prefer that he does it as his finish is better than mine. There is no use wasting time and effort doing the dori work since the patwas seem to have been born with threads in their hands :)

I am very happy to say that the collections of Spirit, Forgotten Letters, Spring, are completely done by myself. I don’t stock my jewellery and hence work on custom orders or in limited edition or one offs. The forthcoming new collection  is ‘Unstirred ‘ made from ceramic glazed, unglazed beads, bamboo coral, lava beads,threads  etc. which are one offs as well.

 Why nibs?

My family had a business making ink pens. A few years ago during a conversation  with my father he mentioned that he would have to sell the remaining stock of nibs to the bhangarwala (scrap dealer). Since the factory had since closed down, there was raw stock of around 150 kgs of nibs and he wanted to clean up the space.

I was aghast with what he said and requested that I be allowed to use some nibs to make some jewellery. He agreed. I spent the first few days just looking at the nibs to just get a ‘feel’ of them. I didn’t want to alter the shape if I could help it. Since altering would mean that the plating would be damaged and I would need to re- plate them and there was a chance that they may not look like nibs in the end.  Though at sometime I do hope to experiment with altering the shape and design of the nibs to have more variety. I think it  would be interesting to see a new dimension to the use of nibs.

Further I realized that if the nibs were to be discarded, the history and story of the pen in India would never be heard, would remain untold and would die along with the nibs. I wanted to celebrate the history of nibs and also endeavor to make good use of the beautiful nibs in my own small way.

All these nibs were handmade in the factory and have gone through several hands to give them the shape, look and feel that they have. To me they are like beautiful gold coins.
You can watch part of the story of this incredible journey here as was told at TEDx talk on the India Memory Project.

Purvi Sanghvi_ForgottenLetters3 Purvi Sanghvi_ForgottenLetters

What compels you to keep creating?

Nothing compels and everything compels.
I like working with my hands and love the intricacy and concentration required while making a piece. The inward looking and thinking happens during that time. And I believe that shows in the jewellery. There are long phases/periods where I don’t design at all. During this time I listen to music, watch movies, read and travel. And then one day I will start the collection and complete it in a week.

The last completed  collection was Spring. It was made from gold plated steel ball pen springs. The connecting of the springs to create shapes is most interesting and shows how versatile a mundane object like a ball pen spring can be. :)

Purvi Sanghvi_Unstirred Purvi Sanghvi_Spring

What have your interactions with people online/fb (to do with your work) taught you?

Interaction on Facebook have been interesting. Sometimes information is rejected by me, sometimes it has made me work harder. Overall I have had a positive response from online interactions. Even though I find it difficult to communicate with people online, I have been encouraged and praised by the audience which has had me going until now.

Could you tell us of a piece that you did not want to part with and did not!!

Purvi Sanghvi_circleoflifeA friend wanted to buy this piece. I was ready to sell it initially. In fact this piece was exhibited at Leginca, Poland at the Silver festival.

I  designed this piece not so much as to enter the competition but to have an excuse to visit Poland  which of course I did.

When the piece came back to Mumbai after being exhibited in the gallery for a few months, my friend asked for the piece and the price. When I had to give a price to my friend and I was discussing it with my mom, she said “Don’t sell it. You have made it and the price is nothing for the effort you have put in anyway. Don’t sell it for the money.”  I was so relieved as that was on my mind but was not able to say a ‘no’ since I had committed the piece to my friend . I am happy that I didn’t sell it and kept it for myself.

How does one buy your art from you?

If anyone wants to buy, I would love to hear from them.

I am very interested in knowing who wants to wear it, and would love a one to one interaction. You can email me on  or contact me on the Facebook page and you will receive a reply promptly ! I usually make one off’ s or very limited pieces of a design.

Note- All nib pieces are wearable, they don’t hurt and they are attractive.
All finished  pieces are handmade by me . A lot of time and effort is put in.
The nibs are made of steel and gold plated. Like all jewellery, care needs  to be taken while wearing and storing the pieces. The nib colour will change over a period of time.

I need to get me one from the ‘Forgotten Letters’ or the ‘Flight’ series. Soon. I love Purvi’s work.

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Jul 28, 2014

Copied again!!

And so it happens again!
What is it with Lakme Fashion Week designers and my work inspiring them a tad too much? First it was The Kathakali face from the top of this trunk… now it is the Theyyam face of the top of this one!


Shagufta Quamar - Photos - Facebook 2014-07-24 22-17-22

It is interesting that the ‘lady’ in question posted her piece, at least on Facebook, on July 18th 2012 and I showcased the same in Nov 2010 at the PageTurners exhibition. It has since been published in many newspapers and magazines.

(This image is taken from Rang Decor – my friend Archana Srinivas’s blog)

Judge for your self. But I have to give this ‘lady’ some credit… at least she tried to change it up a little :-) I wonder though if she realized that there are specific brush strokes I did across this piece for a reason or the significance of the zebra stripes in black or even the twirls in the top band. Did she realize that the green little strokes on the bottom band are done with the side of a brush?

On a more serious note – inspiring someone to better their own skills and visual vocabulary is one thing, blatant copying quite another. It makes me feel connected to another soul that they were so moved by a piece of mine that they felt compelled to add their own interpretation to it. But using it as is… where is the artistic merit in that?

My advice – take an idea and weave your own emotions through it, put your thoughts and feelings in there, connect to that ‘inspiring’ piece and add your life experiences to it and then see what you come up with. That is what makes art worth pursuing.

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Jun 5, 2014

Creative Gaga – May/Jun 2014

Thank you Pragya Bharti for the product feature in the May-June 2014 issue of the Creative Gaga Magazine. I have long admired this magazine so it feels wonderful to be in featured in it. Though I am not totally convinced about the title to the page – ‘Spend Thrift’. But I understand it’s a regular section about the ‘it’ things to buy so I can’t complain :-)

creativeGaga_Cover  creativeGaga_Art_Pg1  creativeGaga_Art_Pg2

Please click on the image to read the text.
(Note- it opens a PDF document.)

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May 29, 2014

A table for Anna..

Anna wrote to me a few weeks ago asking if I saw potential to work on a few things she had in the house. Essentially a make-over for something old – they were a table, a small box cupboard and an old jewelery box. She came over for a chat and we settled on the table. The decision on what to paint got taken as soon as she saw the Lotus Trunk I had in my place. She wanted something similar but with a blue background. And she wanted the entire surface painted – including the legs.
Well here it is :-)

Though for some reason the blues did not photograph well – they are a lot richer and intense on the actual piece.


ArtByAarohi_AnnaTable_3  ArtByAarohi_AnnaTable_4  ArtByAarohi_AnnaTable_2  ArtByAarohi_AnnaTable_5

I collect kettles. The kettle in the pictures was a gift from a dear friend. She carried it all the way from Abu Dhabi :-)


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