Dr Vishwa Premi Dixit
Approx. 12×12 inches
Acrylics on board papered with brown paper.
This painting is a gift to my friend Roohi Dixit (@roodixit). It is a portrait of her father. Roohi lost her father last year and had been posting images, feelings and memories about him on FaceBook. One of the pictures she posted was black and white and grainy. Uncle was clearly in a hospital but he was smiling. Something about that smile and the look in his eyes stayed with me. I saved that picture.
A few weeks ago I wrote a Facebook post about starting a small project painting portraits based on pictures that family and friends have shared on Facebook and Instagram. I have done so many memorial portraits in the last year that I wanted to take a break and paint non-commissioned portraits so I could give them my take so to speak. Not worry about matching an ‘image but try and capture a ‘feeling’.
Uncle’s portrait flowed it was almost effortless to paint. I am not even sure why I attempted it given the low res reference image. But something about that picture and Roohi’s posts almost compelled me to try. This is the only memorial portrait I did of the 7 I attempted from my saved folder.
Roohi and I have been ‘Facebook’ friends for almost a decade now. We had met only once in passing at the airport in 20202 before we finally met yesterday. We met and chatted like we had known each other all our lives. Roohi came to take her father’s portrait.
I wish I could put in words what yesterday afternoon was like in Roohi’s company. I am going to leave it at – It was special and I think I made a friend for life. Memorial portraits are hard on me. They are emotionally exhausting and yet it is a sort of catharsis for both sides. They give me connection and love. And hope. I thank god every day for the gift he gave me – that I can touch lives through my craft.
These were her words to me -“Thank you so much Aarohi. Today, like the monsoon rains my heart is all water.
And I feel cleansed. “