"The theme of my show is what you want it to be," says 25-year-old artist Janavi Mahimtura Folmsbee. The young lady, who started her artistic career at the age of 16, hails from a family of civil engineers. Breaking away from the tradition, she went on to study conceptual abstract art in Chicago. Her latest exhibition, Reflect and Refract is currently on at Jehangir Art Gallery. CS talks to her about her latest show, going global and fan following: 

Who: Janavi Mahimtura
What: Talking about her latest show
Where: At her Breach Candy residence

Deep waters
My art is a lot about observation. The Reflect and Refract series happened to me two years ago. After finishing my graduation in Chicago, and showcasing my exhibition Perceptual Perception, I took a break in Lakshadweep with my mother. While resurfacing from the sea after a diving session, the distorted images of fellow divers under water took me by awe. That inspired me to start this series. I have stuck to my style of showing different social behaviour and interesting titles. My art is incomplete without their titles. These titles come from lines people say while conversing, and sometimes I make a painting because I have a particular title on my mind. In short, Reflect and Refract is about who we really are and who we show we are.

Professional touch
I believe that every individual has his or her own understanding about art. Abstract art is meant to be understood differently. Art according to me is universal. As long as my art is sold, I know my art is making sense to people. People don't realise what goes behind the making of a painting. I have a painting on display called Another Day on The Terrace, which took 35 layers of oil paints and more than three months to complete. Painting is my profession, so I am not very emotional about it. If I were to paint with my emotions, my paintings will be relevant only to me and no one else. As an artist that is the worst thing to happen. I do paint for myself with my emotions in it, but that is only on my sketchbook for me to see.

Art for youngistan
Though people are opening up to international forms, art in India is still grounded to its tradition. Also, the appreciation of the art abroad is very different from what it is in India. Youth today are seeking for something different. Something they haven't seen as yet. And I am one of them. I would rather paint something that is relevant now. This according to me is abstract painting. Michelangelo has rightly said that all art forms are abstract in their own sense.