Ajith Rajagopal is a talented Indian artist born and raised in Kerala, India. He moved to UAE in the year 2012. He believes in giving life to whatever he paints by using elements which are defined by his interest in natural landscapes, abstract themes and a fusion of contemporary art. Apart from winning renowned awards and titles, he is known to win hearts through simplicity and purity of work.
Imagine walking around an art exhibition, glancing through the paintings; each depicting different moods, styles, concepts and a symphony of colors. Some paintings are simple and soulful, some make you stop and think, while some just stand out from the rest; when someone asks you what did you like about it? You struggle, fumble and just smile and say, ‘I don’t know, but it speaks to my heart.’ You reach home to discuss your day with someone and then just before visiting your dreamland you think about that alluring painting. Woosh! You have a peaceful good night sleep and the next day back to routine.
Ever thought about mapping and screening the mind of the artist behind the work? What would have compelled him/her to paint that? How was that imagination stemmed? What was his/her state of mind just before lifting that brush to paint the canvas with his/her spurring imagination? We see the work in front of our eyes but what about the ‘work’ behind?
Since a tender age I’ve had an affinity towards arts and culture, tried to lift my pencil and also explored watercolors and oil crayons several times, but to my hard luck, I couldn’t even manage a straight line. I was disheartened but not disconnected from art. I found my art in writing and music but never stopped appreciating artists who paint from their soul. When I moved to Dubai in 2015 I was fascinated with the art scene here…Bastakiya is my to go place to discover meaningful art.
I had a keen eye for a talented and award-winning Indian artist based in Dubai- Mr. Ajith Rajagopal, for me his work felt like an extension of his simplicity. Without even meeting him I felt a positive aura when I saw his work; the feeling when elements talk to you and colors melt your mind. I always wanted to meet him and talk to him about his work and the detailing he brings through his masterpiece.
Finally, I contacted him for an exclusive interview and I can rightly say it started off as a mere interview but ended in me getting a chance to connect with two beautiful souls- Ajith Rajagopal and his soulmate or as Ajith says ‘my everything’, Vidhya.
Time flew as I spoke to Ajith and Vidhya- they’re indeed an inspirational artistic couple who not only respect each other’s work but also motivate each other as friends and most importantly as each other’s biggest fans.
Ajith was blessed with a knack for art and all things creative. He feels that an artist has the caliber to find an inspiration in almost anything or anyone, you don’t search for inspiration, your mind just weaves it.
When asked about his childhood and painting, he recalls, “My family has been supportive and encouraged me to keep painting. I used to always participate in school competitions and even won most of them, it kind of contributed to my inclination towards art. Since an early age, I’ve been attracted towards art and try my best to keep improving in every way. I’ve never stopped painting or taken a break. It made me and still makes me feel complete.”
Art is a continuous process and inspiration is what guides that process. College days made Ajith realize his addiction towards painting mainly because he found himself immersed and away from this world; for him, it was just his canvas, his palette of colors, his brush, and his thoughts…
Isn’t it a feeling of accomplishment when you connect to spirituality and peace? As Ajith laughs and says, “I was getting MAD into art, it made me connect to spirituality. College was my turning point, before that I just drew like a normal person. From a fun activity, it turned to a serious passion I didn’t want to let go.”
Time makes one aware of self and the world, it gets you intimate with your deepest and darkest corners. On a journey to discover others you realize you got closer to yourself in ways you never imagined.
Don’t we all have a turning point in our lives? An incident or episode or a person which is so impactful that it sometimes leaves a permanent scar. But as it is said tough times don’t last, tough people do. Ajith took a deep breath and looked at his wife Vidhya and then looked back at me and smiled, “This is my second life.” I was confused I didn’t know what was coming up, Ajith looked absolutely fine to me. He continued by saying, “A few years back, precisely in the year 2012 I was in Abu Dhabi working for a company but due to some medical problem I had to rush back to Kerala and undergo a back surgery, just before the surgery I was told there was minimal or no chance of me walking again post that operation. My family and friends were stressed about the situation however, I knew I couldn’t delay the operation. I underwent a critical surgery which left me bedridden for a couple of months, I couldn’t do my own work. The only way I connected with the outside world was through my window. I wanted to be alright, I’ve always been the one encouraging my friends and family to never give up and here it was me fighting my own plight. I had to rise, I couldn’t be like that. The pain was too much to take but I only had two options- to lose courage and accept my state or to be my own hero and fight my ailment.”
Ajith is a trained professional violinist as well and has mastered the western form of violin. Music heals the mind and body and in an attempt to revisit his musical side he lifted his violin post his surgery…but to his despair he wasn’t able to hold the violin, his surgery had made it impossible to play his beloved instrument again. (What would you do, if you woke up one morning and realized one of your most cherished things is taken away from you?) I gasped, almost speechless, I didn’t know what to say. Ajith concluded by saying, “Sometimes emotional ailments take more time to heal than the physical sickness.” It’s been years that Ajith has been unable to play the violin but this drawback didn’t discourage him. He continues to find happiness in music when he hears Vidhya practice classical Karnataka music every morning.
Ajith has an ignition and an attitude of finding reasons to be happy rather than complaining. I adore his patience and zest for life. It was during those low moments, Ajith picked up his brush and created his most cherished and marvelous piece of art; Krishna- The Enchanter, the painting has a mystic attraction…serenity and tranquillity. The grace of Lord Krishna playing his most adored instrument- flute. The painting is special for Ajith. “Back to my world of colors,” as he says. Depicting a state of peace during the toughest storm!
Life might have shown him the toughest days but good things happen to those who are patient and hopeful. Ajith found his soulmate in his friend Vidhya, she supported him during his dusky days and has been a shield for him. Vidhya is a trained classical Bharatnatyam dancer and classical singer. The couple surely gave me ‘aww’ moments with their unspoken chemistry and sparks.
Ajith evolved as an artist and participated in many competitions. His most notable being ‘Against The Tides’, held at Ahmedia Heritage Guest House, Dubai which saw a whopping participation from artists across the globe. Ajith was the youngest among them and went on to win the competition and then showcased a 10-day solo exhibition at the same place. He commented on his achievement by saying, “My friend informed me about this competition and I just participated, I never really thought I had a chance to win. The theme was Arabic culture and heritage, I presented two paintings- Al Insijam (harmony) and Al Izdihar(prosperity). I’m extremely thankful to the organizers since that was the point I actually started my second life with colors. I took almost 6 months to prepare for the solo exhibition due to physical constraints. I showcased 25 paintings, I can never forget the fond memories of those magical 10 days.”
Since then Ajith’s hands and imagination haven’t stopped, every day he paints to his heart’s content. He loves to try innovative ideas and uses several hues of colors. Ajith says, “There is never a thumb rule when it comes to art, I like to try my hand using various techniques. I don’t want to limit myself to just watercolors or oil painting. I love pencil drawing, knife work, finger painting. I’ve even used ATM cards to paint. Whatever leads to perfection and presentation of art is what I like. I love landscape painting as well as abstract. Some paintings are a blend of both, I like to experiment but most importantly keep my work pure and understandable, I put in immense energy in every piece, I experience an ignition when I sit in front of my canvas and stare at it just before starting. It’s like an adrenaline rush, a storm of energy compelling me to move my hands at the instruction of my soul.”
Everyone inspires, everyone teaches but most importantly some stories simply take you on a joyride of emotions. I didn’t realize one Friday evening will change my perception of certain things in life. Unknowingly Ajith taught me the real meaning of the quote, ‘Impossible is just a state of mind’. As I bid Ajith and Vidhya a momentary bye, I recalled the time spent with them, but the one thought which the couple left me with was…Everything simple is beautiful, be it art, be it emotions, be it love or simply be it ‘you’.
(P.S. Ajith and Vidhya have promised to take me out for a traditional Sadhya meal)
Out of my collection, my most favorite is… Krishna- The Enchanter and Kathakali
My favorite artists… Mary Whyte, Prafull Sawant, Raghunath Sahoo, Bijay Biswaal, Iris Scott
I don’t leave my house without…hugging my wife, spectacles, and headband
Dubai for me is…Colorful memories
Favorite food…Traditional homemade food
My quote for life… You’re born without anything but you die with your name. The name must not be a word only, it must be a history- Chanakya
For more awesomeness from Ajith and to know about his upcoming work, head straight to his FB page and show some love… https://www.facebook.com/Ajith-Rajagopals-Art-Gallery-351700734951828/