Nichola Pais catches up with artist Brinda Miller, who hosted a paper collage workshop and discussion for women
Aspirations, the workshop which was part of Phoenix Marketcity Kurla’s, Power Woman Fiesta, saw participants translating their dreams through cutting and pasting images to form an artwork. Hosted by Brinda Miller, who is renowned for using material in a collage to create three-dimensional effects, the event was engaging on many levels. Excerpts from the conversation…
What was the experience like hosting this workshop – Aspirations?
Art is a wonderful medium of communication, and that was apparent at the workshop which had women from different walks of life, from students to working women and housewives. The spontaneity and the enthusiasm were highly inspiring.
What was the aim of Aspirations?
The workshop was part of Phoenix Marketcity’s extended celebrations for International Women’s Day. Their ‘Fab to be Female’ campaign celebrates womanhood as part of the mall’s 8th edition of their Power Women Fiesta. It includes a host of masterclasses for women in various fields. My art workshop was titled ‘Aspirations’ and aimed at translating participants’ dreams and giving them shape in the form of artworks.
How do you perceive the result – the artwork that will emerge?
The artworks that emerged had a social message about women’s aspirations. In our interactive segment, participants spoke about their aspirations in life. Some of the responses from the housewives were extremely unusual; a few of them aspired to become fashion or interior designers. The aspirations were not materialistic but the little things in life that make it meaningful.
How do such initiatives help women?
These activities provoke thought. In my opinion, if I did another workshop, the same women might turn up as I inspired them in some way. This workshop was an inspiration to aspire.
What do you hope that the women took back from this experience?
Women took back an experience that was short but stimulating. It gave them food for thought. For instance, some who were housewives may be inspired to be designers; others who were working might dream of taking that forward.
Do you feel that there is a need for women to express themselves through art?
Expressing oneself is a need. Not only women but everyone should express themselves through art. Art is very similar to yoga or meditation. It is very therapeutic.
What is it about art that can empower women?
Art could help women express themselves better. It is an easier way to express without being vocal. It is a way of putting one’s thoughts down like writing or any other artistic expression like dance or music. Art is a form of expression without articulation. That is strength by itself.
How have you been personally empowered by your art?
In my childhood, I was a quiet child and a good artist. Today, my art has given me recognition. I found no need to shout from rooftops or claim myself to be an artist. My talent has given me confidence and fame. Any talent that is recognised can empower a person. This is how I was empowered.
As an artist, what themes and media are you currently engaging with?
I work with abstract themes. I have been working for many years, although I didn’t start as an abstract artist, but now I am one. Also, I use a lot of architectural elements because my family is one of architects. Both my daughters are architects. It’s great to have them around me as they are my greatest critics. I use architectural elements in my work as that helps me get a better feedback from them.