Saturday, April 17, 2021
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Brinda Miller

Empowered and Entitled

From childhood, I was blessed with a special talent, which was soon recognized by my teachers and peers. It was my good fortune that I belong to a creative and supportive family. When it was time to go to college, it was a given that I would choose Art. I excelled at Sir JJ School of Art, passing out as a Maharashtra State topper in Textile Design, and soon I moved to painting professionally, and became a well -known artist in a short span. After a few years, I felt the need to hone my skills further and I went to New York to study Drawing and Painting at Parsons School of Design. This was one of the milestones for me as I discovered myself here.

Life in NY was similar to life in Mumbai but one had to fend for oneself completely, away from the sheltered life that I had so far led in Mumbai. 

This is when I actually began to feel empowered.

I come from an era when women artists generally took longer than men to be recognized for their talent. One only heard of Amrita Shergill or Anjoli Ela Menon. The main reason for this was that women usually opted to study Art as something they could do when they were not busy with their homes and families. However, this did not apply to me- as I was raised in a home where boys and girls were considered to be equal. My parents were ambitious for all of us. They said to
us that we should do whatever we wanted to in life, but be the best at whatever we do. 

I met my to-be husband soon after my return from New York. He appreciated my art and encouraged me to work. He was an architect himself and a workaholic too. He understood and supported my need to work and wanted me to remain independent. Soon I became a successful and celebrated Fine Artist. I dabbled in mixed media my style being mostly abstract. (My art imitates my life) and experimented and “grew“over the years.  I have had 26 solo exhibitions and have been part of several group exhibitions and workshops/ residencies in India as well as internationally.

It was much later in life that I realized that I had inherited my father’s philanthropic ways and some of his organizing abilities. Yet another milestone. I always say that life began at 40!

The combination of creativity and my love for my city Mumbai has since molded me into what I am today. Having somewhat attained this goal of becoming a celebrated and well-known artist, I felt the need to do something more…. for the city and its people, for society, and for the art world. … As Festival Director of Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, I had the opportunity to meet, work and understand women from various creative fields of Dance, Theatre, Music, Visual Arts, Literature, Architecture and Design.

The various roles I have played have inspired me to work in various media and have formed the basis of my ideology and inspiration. I am forever looking forward to enjoying new work and always wish for new beginnings that will make my life interesting. Fame and money have never been sought after.If they have happened, I consider it to be my good fortune I want to enjoy myself to the fullest. I love to travel and see the world.

My most recent assignments are being Education Consultant at CSMVS, Mumbai (formerly The Prince of Wales Museum) and I am also on the Advisory board of their Children’s Museum. With my experience, I feel good that I can mentor so many young and upcoming artists. I play the role of being an “art catalyst” My goals as an artist has changed again recently. Since 2020 has been a write-off-year for most artists. Let’s hope we can emerge from the crisis and find some positive inspiration soon.

-BRINDA MILLER

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