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Travel inspires art, and it shaped who I am, says Rouble Nagi

brunch Updated: Sep 24, 2016 21:13 IST
Shikha Kumar
Rouble says she prefers murals and installations to paintings
Rouble says she prefers murals and installations to paintings

Artist and muralist Rouble Nagi on growing up in Kashmir, getting inspirations from her travels, and her art

Birthday: July 8

Sunsign: Cancer

Place of birth: Kashmir

School/college: Army School, Slade School of Fine Art London

First break : A complete artwork project for Ravindra Natya Mandir in Mumbai in 2002

Low point of your life: Haven’t seen any as yet

High point of your life: When my son was born

Currently I am: Doing an art show at Rashtrapati Bhavan, some public art projects in Mumbai and art camps for slum kids

What are your earliest memories of Kashmir, where you were born?

Being an army officer, my father was stationed in Poonch and other areas in J&K. I remember the place as very peaceful and normal. My mother still makes the best kahwa.

If you have to pick one medium, which one would that be?

I prefer murals and installations to paintings. I especially like working with metal and stone.

A piece of advice you got from someone that you really treasure.

My father. It was: Sweat in peace to save blood in war. It’s something military people say. It means whether you’re comfortable or struggling, you have to keep working hard.

You travelled a lot when you were young. What was that like?

Because of my father, we would be in a different state or city every two years. I got to see practically all of India by the time I was 18. Travel inspires art, and it shaped who I am.

One thing about being a muralist that not many people know.

It’s very physical. You feel what you create. For instance, stone — like marble — reveals its character as you cut through the layers, and the form changes along the way.

Your name is quite unusual. How did that come about?

In Arabic, Rubil means light. I spell it differently. My father picked the name out of a book he was reading at the time.

If you could invite three people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?

Rabindranath Tagore, Pablo Picasso and Oscar Wilde. It would be great to just sit back and see who dominates the dinner-table discussion. The subject would be art of course.

Your favourite period in art history.

Post-impressionism through to abstract expressionism. I believe that Jackson Pollock did for painting what Jimi Hendrix did for the electric guitar.

Three apps that you can’t do without.

Instagram, Pinterest and WhatsApp.

Favourite social media platform.

Twitter. It’s a great tool for common people and celebrities to voice their opinions.

Most challenging project you’ve done.

A seven-ton sculpture, called Madonna and Child, in Mumbai. It was carved out of a single piece of marble and took me almost four months to complete.

Your go-to fitness routine.

I do yoga every morning for an hour, and meditate for 15 minutes.

What cheers you up when you’re feeling low?

Spending time with my four-year-old son. I love being outdoors with him, whether that’s playing in a garden or at the beach.

Three things we’ll always find in your handbag.

My cellphone, sketch pad and measuring tape.

How do you unwind?

I listen to music or read a book.

How do you define your personal style?

Comfort comes first. My style is an extension of inner beauty, reinforced by a life of discipline.

The last line of your autobiography will read…

The end is always a new beginning.

My favourites:

City: Mumbai

Food : Sushi and crème brulee

Song of the moment: Hello by Adele

Movie: Woman in Gold (2015)

Designer: Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney

Book: Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet

From HT Brunch, September 25, 2016

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