Are you sure you want to remove from your connections?
Edinburgh & The Lothians
Abstract, Environment, Landscape
My artistic inspiration comes from my lived in life – childhood stories about human relationship with the environment and from the time spent in places with abundant natural beauty. Walks on Scottish hills continue to ignite my deep-rooted connection with nature – its offer of hope, comfort, freedom and unconditional friendship. After all, the basic elements of our existence include space, water, air and earth as per ancient Indian philosophy.
My process of painting is varied – most of the works originate entirely from memories and feelings, some from photographs taken during walks and others through an amalgamation of imagination and observation. I grew up in India and now live in Scotland – my past and present intertwine in my art. I believe that the interplay of light, wind, water (streams and rain) on the natural environment in fast changing weather displays magical scenarios waiting to be captured.
Living in Edinburgh, I feel that fortunate to be a constant recipient of the magical gifts from Scottish hills. They always offer something new through the changing seasons and weather – beaming with different colours and sounds – the varying shades of gorse, shimmering trees and singing birds.
While COVID and the resulting lockdown was a source of anguish, I observed a new zeal in the hills and woods – kids flying kites, bikes whizzing past, families walking, jogging and enjoying picnics along with regular dog walkers – a pleasant escape from isolation. Resilience, radiance, hope and ephemeral darkness were the sentiments projected by nature during the lockdown. It was exhilarating to see the hills full of hope and joy in the face of despair. This paradox inspired many of my paintings done during the lockdown 2020-21.
I am currently expanding my horizons by painting in the Swiss Alps.
Vibha is a Scottish-Indian artist based in Edinburgh, where she has lived for the past twenty four years. She was born in India and grew up with the Himalayas as a backdrop. She is largely a self-taught artist who started painting at an early age. Her education was in biological sciences – she obtained her MPhil from University of Swansea and was awarded a doctorate for her thesis on knowledge mobilisation in public health from the University of Edinburgh. In Scotland she worked for the NHS and also had short stints with the voluntary sector and the Scottish Government. Her key areas of work were promoting Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Learning and Development. She also has a number of published reports.
Painting being her first love, Vibha has been painting full time after taking early retirement in 2016. To explore avenues for her artistic journey she undertook short courses at Edinburgh College of Art. She has exhibited her work at a number of exhibitions, which include her solo exhibition, ‘Amaranthine’, at the Dundas Street Gallery in 2020. Her work has been reviewed in Artmag; she has also been interviewed by BBC Radio Scotland; and Radio AwazFM Glasgow about her art.
A collection of Vibha’s paintings including those done during the lockdown (2020-2021) have been published as a collaborative poetry and art venture entitled “Patient Dignity” (https://www.scotlandstreetpress.com/artists/dr-vibha-pankaj).
Some excerpts from recent reviews of her work are:
a) John Purser – renowned poet, composer and musician –
“Of all the images, the one that will haunt me is Miles to go. Vibha Pankaj paints from the heart and even in reproduction one can see this – and there is a freedom and also a daring with colour and form that reminds me a little of Jack Yeats and matches your own poetic freedoms. But also the gean accompanying ‘Remember’, its pointillist array of white flowers in early spring in the woods so striking”.
b) Alan Riach (Professor of Scottish Literature at Glasgow University) (thenational.scot)
“…. published by Scotland Street Press is the 2021 volume Patient Dignity, poems by Bashabi Fraser with artwork by Vibha Pankaj. As with Wilson’s Ornithology & Burns, this book combines vivid and lovely images of paintings with poems of immediate and lasting effect”.