“Just People” presents the works of the Indian expatriate community
Living away from home is never an easy prospect. We miss the camaraderie of family life, the comfort of communicating in one’s own language, and the ease with which one can access familiar foods. Although many people settle far from their country, the desire for a homeland and familiar experiences remains deeply rooted. One way to channel this nostalgia is through art, which is a medium that transcends language and other communication barriers. Therefore, presenting one’s art to the wider community of the new place one has called home is a way to connect and find a unique place for oneself.
This is the reason for the unique annual art exhibition “Just People” which is held every year in Delhi to showcase the work of European artists who live in India. The exhibition is the initiative of the Russian socio-cultural development center Atlas, which is a forum that brings together the dynamic expatriate community of Eastern Europe. This year’s exhibition is scheduled to take place from November 1-5 at the India Habitat Center’s Open Palm Court Gallery. Ekaterina Semenushkova, Russian expatriate and founder of Atlas, took the initiative to organize this exhibition when conversations with other members of her organization made her realize that everyone turned to art as therapy during the difficult months of pandemic-induced lockdowns.
Since arriving in India more than six years ago, Semenushkova has worked to strengthen social and cultural ties between India and Russia. To this end, she started the Atlas organization in 2020. Through her efforts, she was introduced to many Eastern European emigrants, who shared both her vision and her love of creative pursuits. Praising her colleagues and their artistic abilities, she explains, “It was amazing to discover that without any professional training, people can create such beautiful works of art! We’re not used to seeing artists as normal people like us. We don’t realize that they are just people who live, work and practice their hobbies. That’s why I named our exhibition – Just People.
This edition of Just People will feature paintings, photographs, embroidered works, handmade jewelry, crafts and Russian lace, among other offerings. Semenushkova explains: “The exhibition is a showcase for the creative work of expatriates – non-professional artists and young artists living in India. The aim of the exhibition is to gain support for young artists living far from their country of origin, as well as to encourage the development and support of contemporary art.
Embroidery artist Mila Supinskaya, who participated in last year’s exhibition, is excited to do so again. “Amateur artists are not bad artists. Their amateur status is only a means of indicating that art is not their primary occupation. In fact, without the pressure to pursue it professionally, there is more opportunity for growth and more freedom. Exhibitions like this are great because they make us more confident to present our work publicly,” she exclaims.
Natalia Verma is a photographer who has long dreamed of being able to show her work in an art exhibition, and is very grateful to Atlas for the opportunity given to artists like her. “Every creative person needs to be exposed. Participating in the Just People exhibition is a great opportunity for amateur and professional expat artists to show their art to people, to be noticed and to have the opportunity to grow in this field. I also like the fact that it brings together talented people who can meet and be inspired by others. This is an event not to be missed! Everything was so well organized last year and with so many love. All my works were sold at last year’s exhibition.
Marria Medunica is an artist, doll maker, jewelry designer and art educator. She has been working with sheep’s wool for fourteen years and her work is part of many private collections around the world. As a regular participant in international exhibitions of art dolls in Russia, Germany and Japan, she believes that anything can be made from wool and that there is no limit to her possibilities as a doll. than medium. This is her first time participating in Just People, but she is looking forward to interacting with the twenty or so other artists whose works will be exhibited alongside hers.
Once Just People is done, Semensuhkova has other plans in place. Talking about her upcoming projects, she says, “I am developing the Art Space of Compatriots project, which will be a festival of creativity in Russia in the summer of 2023. We also hold regular meetings of the Russian Book Club in Delhi, where every two months we discuss the books we have read.
If you’re in Delhi, mark your calendars for the Just People Art Exhibition taking place November 1-5 at the Open Palm Court Gallery at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.
Noor Anand Chawla writes lifestyle articles for various publications and his blog www.nooranandchawla.com.