Mona Rai is a comrade among the revolutionary contemporary Indian artists who are based out in Delhi. She was born in the year 1947, the year when India got independent. She is known for experimenting with the limitations of different mediums. Her Indian painting's aesthetics are eclectic and yet refreshing. It seems as if she has not drawn and filled colors in her work, rather she has weaved ideas onto it. The bright and mellow colors seem like waltzing in the light.
She has participated in many groups and solo shows throughout her glorious and splendid career. Group shows named ‘Verk’ organized at Nature Morte at New Delhi in the year 2010 and ‘Path to the Gold Mine hosted by the Palette Art Gallery of the capital in the year 2007 come under her most recent and distinguished participations. You may find her creations in private collections of abstract art lovers on the national and international levels.
Her abstractions also felicitate the most coveted art collections which are as follows:-
- Punjab University Museum at Chandigarh
- National Gallery of Modern Art at New Delhi
- Bharat Bhawan at Bhopal
- Air India
- Lalit Kala Academy
- The World Economic Forum situated at Davos
She completed her Masters in Psychology from Delhi University in the year 1969. Her pure abstractions try to elucidate the complexities of the human mind. Truth is a matter of perspective. You may have different versions of everything depending upon the point of view. Similarly, her works are also subject to varying interpretations and explanations. The convoluted patterns and motifs she uses to describe the levels of consciousness of the human brain.
The purpose of abstract art in aesthetics is twofold. No-Figurative art is beautiful in their own ways and deviates from the conventional glorification of concrete forms and reality. It was a laconic reaction against the confines of the academic fine art. Rai’s oeuvres are as complex as her subject. She explores the subconscious thought process of a universal theme that gradually develops through the intermingling of people’s ideas.
‘Bageecha’ or Garden is one of her most vivid and thought-provoking paintings of all time. The spectator can see that a large portion of the canvas filled with bright green color against a small portion filled with small patches of warm but faded colors of orange, red, green, and blue. One may try to decipher it and may conclude that the green patch is a jungle or a grove and the colorful part is like a glade which is a manmade garden in the middle of a jungle. One may also infer that the green patchwork is the embodiment of a large jungle of which the colorful civilization is a part.
At the prime of her life, completing almost 72 years of her life, she paints rigorously. Despite the challenges that come with old age, her spirit keeps her ingenuity alive and instill in her an insatiability that lead her to create the marvels of abstractions. She believes in individualism and advocated fiercely about the infringement of the right to privacy of the individuals that have come under the radar recently. Rai registers her vehement disagreement through her work upon the encroachment of human rights.
She often gets frustrated with the universal feeling of materialism that has shadowed and tainted the innocence of humanity. Lack of originality in the personalities of the people and growing fakeness. Her soul hurts after seeing the corrupt practices that we follow for attaining materialistic gains. Rai strongly opposes this hijacking of culture and opinions by the continuing tug of war for power which she witnesses on the political battleground of the country which happens to be her home.
She has been promoting abstractions through her art and is a known figure among the international as well as national art aficionados. Since the 1970s, she is participating in solo and group shows including major showcases and art events in countries like Australia, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
Mona sculpted her prowess in painting for many years at the Triveni Kala Sangam. But, for a strong understanding of human emotions and individualism, she chose to pursue Psychology as a subject. Her works could be discerned among others because she uses a square-shaped canvas for her pure abstractions that make her works stand out. Generally, a square-shaped canvas is not fit for painting abstract art. There is another feature of her work that makes it recognizable but hard to interpret.
She uses dots, long streaks of Indian paintings colors making linear lines and dashes, and small motifs that make her work look like carpet stitch on a cloth rather than a work of colors on a canvas. Her enduring nature and passion for art keep her going. We need her kind of revolutionary people that could raise their concerns and show a mirror to society and wish she remains all hale and hearty in the years to come.