Woman of Substance: Vimmie Manoj painted her way to success

INDORE: Inspired by her mother’s resilience and strength, 48-year-old artist Vimmie Manoj has carved her way to success and recently, her work has been selected for a painting exhibition in Berlin in December.

While her journey has ups and downs, overall, she has made the best of opportunities available to her. Sharing her story, Vimmie said, “Being an artist was not my first ambition, originally, I wanted to be a research scientist.”

She pursued her graduation in Mathematics, Physics and Geology. “I married Manoj Argal, when I was 21 years old,” Vimmie said. After marriage, her life changed as she had to comply with new house rules and handle responsibilities of being daughter-inlaw.

“I continued my education after marriage, because I wanted to become somebody more than a wife,” Vimmie said. While her family was supportive of her education, situations and circumstances did not favour her ambition of becoming a research scientist.

“My husband was an officer in forest department, so we were mostly living in remote areas in MP,” Vimmie said. Another impediment in her education was language barrier.

“I am not fluent in writing in Hindi, since my schooling was in Pune,” Vimmie shared. Countering the language barrier and making the best of the situation, she studied English literature. While struggling to balance her children, family and education, Vimmie explored her creative talent. “We were living in Balaghat district, where we had regular power cuts and no proper access to television or other facilities,” she said. This time gave her a chance to take a walk in the nearby areas and explore nature.

“I came across drift wood, which could be carved to make structures and art,” Vimmie said. She worked on driftwood art and further, felt inspired to provide a creative outlet to her emotions.

Manoj was next transferred to Dhamtari district near Raipur, where Vimmie bought colours and expressed herself on canvas. “Visitors appreciated my artwork, which encouraged me and I worked harder to paint my feeling more accurately,” Vimmie said. Over time, she became popular as an artist.

Talking about her inspiration, Vimmie said, “My mother (late) Achla Shrivastava had completed her studied in 1960s, after having four children, which inspired me to achieve my dreams.” Further, she feels her mother-in-law Shanti Argal’s blessings and support helped her in completing her education and fulfilling her dreams.

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