Sudakshina Bhattacharya (born in 1983) grew up in a small town ‘Kalyani’ close to “city of Joy” Kolkata (India). “Sudakshina” means someone who is capable and outright sincere.
Just like many others, Sudakshina has also crossed many hurdles in life and honestly even today she is struggling to maintain a balance between her role as full time homemaker and a mom of a 5-year-old naughty boy but by the grace of god and her well-wishers, including her supportive husband, she is just not doing good but also able to pursue her passion, her purpose of life – PAINTING. She began this journey at a tender age of just 2.5 years while most of the kids still learn to walk and talk.
How the journey began
Well that was in the winters of January in the year 1986 where she participated in an art competition in her neighborhood and was accompanied by her elder sister. Since no one took her seriously, only two colors (Red and Black) were provided to her along with the drawing sheet and she created her first ever painting – A black circle with a few lines coming out on top of a red circle with number of lines out from it. On asking her about the painting she explained – “it’s a cockroach caught by a spider”. Late Shri Santosh Das, a renowned artist and the judge of the art competition, was amazed to see the power of observation, creation and imagination of the little girl and her wise use of limited materials supplied. The master’s eyes recognized his true disciple and he happily accepted Sudakshina as his youngest student.
As days passed by, Sudakshina explored the world of art and culture while keeping a balance with her academic growth and other extracurricular activities. She amazed everybody around her by showing her skills in numerous activities.
Painting: Sudakshina won many state level and national level art competitions. She won many well established artist’s heart with her power of observation of the real world and her strong brush strokes.
Collage: She won national level collage competition for her 200 piece collage work titled “Bangalir Baro Mashe Tero Parbon” (13 main festivals of Bengalis in 12 months). That artwork was later stolen.
Alpona: In her neighborhood, for any auspicious event and festival Sudakshina’s one of the important role used to be to decorate the center stage with her beautiful Alpona art.
Music: She was taught Indian classical music and Rabindra sangeet both for several years under singer late Smt. Krishna Dey.
Dance: After noticing her passion towards dance , her parents took her to dance school where she learned Bharatnatyam. She later performed as well as choreographed many group and solo dances in her neighborhood, school, college and office events.
Drama: She made her very first stage appearance at the age of 3 in a drama(cultural program) directed by her loving aunt late Smt. Soma Banerjee. Sudakshina performed in many plays under her direction.
Yoga and Meditation: Her father taught her various yoga, asanas, pranayams which she follows till today, every day. Though she learned her initial meditation from her parents, later she attended Vipassana.
Swimming and sports: She took swimming lessons for 4 years and she was also actively involved in various sports activities including cricket and badminton with her local junior team under the captaincy of her uncle Shri Partha Sengupta.
Conch Shell blowing competition: Regular practice of pranayam helped her win many competitions. She had record of 58 sec Counch playing in a single breath.
Social Work: Inherited from her mother, her kind heart could easily feel the pain of poor, helpless and abandoned human and animals. She was involved in many social activities and she was awarded by “HelpAge India“ for her work.
Young writer: The power of her wide imagination encouraged her to write lots of stories and poems for children. Though unfortunately her stories were not preserved, but one of her poem is still kept secured. (Will be uploaded soon).
Mathematics and Science: Mathematics was her strongest subject and from her kindergarten to high school she made her teachers proud. Her father taught her Vedic Math. She earned many A+ and A grades in yearly National Science competition called “National Talent Hunt contest”.
Health started betraying the multi-talented soul while she was in her 8th grade. She was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. Because of her bad health she was forced to choose between world of art and studies, and she end up staying away from art world.
Sudakshina passed her 10th and 12th grade with 1st division, but her health continued to deteriorate. She also suffered from severe back pain for eight long years (2002 – 2010) due to her spine injury.
Education and Professional career
Graduation: Despite her feeble state of health, Sudakshina graduated as a Computer Science Engineer (2006) and earned 96 percentile in GATE exam and 98% in C-DAC Mumbai G-Level exam.
Job: She joined a highly reputed Government Organization of India as a Research Scientist (2007). She bagged this job after 2 hour long interview with 4 Senior Scientists who were probably the best in the country.
Masters: Sudakshina also has her Masters on “Formal Verification of Software Architecture” (using SPIN tool) under guidance of Prof. R.K. Joshi from IITB (Mumbai, India).
Marriage: One of the biggest turn of her life was her marriage which was very eventful too. In 2011 Sudakshina married Ashwani whom she met five years ago while she was doing her final year summer training at VECC, Kolkata. They got to know about each other through e-mails as in initial 3 years of their friendship, they got a chance to meet only once a year. Ashwani’s caring and true nature and constant support made her committed to him. She married Ashwani against her family’s will. Sudakshina had to fight a battle against her family to marry the most trusted and loving person in her life. She was blessed to have enormous support from her Gulhane Sir and his family (everyone welcomed her as a part their family), Mukesh Sir and Sharad Sir. Yes, still today, love marriages are treated as crime in many places on this earth – strange? But it’s true !
Baby: Babies change lives and so it did for Sudakshina too. By the end of 2012, she became mom to a beautiful baby boy. She did everything possible to ensure her boy gets the best. She single handedly raised her tiny tot with Ashwani’s support but yes the little boy did not get any of his grand parents in spite of they being hale and hearty.
Lack of family support forced Sudakshina to resign from her prestigious job and by end of 2013 she find herself getting transformed from scientist to a full time homemaker and stay at home mom.
Travelling back to US (Connecticut) to accompany her husband changed her life. Rejected from family, resigned from job, disconnected from friends, detached from any social connection and in a new place, with no support and help, she had no clue where the life was taking her. She worked round the clock for her son and family without any rest. The physical, mental and emotional turmoil took a toll on her health to an extent that her normal life almost was paralyzed.
By the end of first quarter of 2014, Sudakshina, Ashwani and their son moved to Waltham, MA.
Though Ashwani got nothing to see of her artworks but he heard a lot from her loving aunt Jyothsna Kakima (who is her only phone friend cum guide) who always encouraged her to start painting once again. So, one fine morning Ashwani decided to take her in a nearby art gallery.
It was April, 2015 and city of Lexington was having their seventh Open studios. What could have been better than this opportunity? Her husband took her to Lexington Arts and Crafts Society and there she met artist “Jean Hart”. Sudakshina showed her a few images of her old paintings and Jean opened the door of her new journey by encouraging and suggesting her to join LACS. She came back home with heart full of joy and a new hope to become an artist one day.
Back to the Art World
Being a full time stay at home mom of a toddler, it was impossible for her to get proper rest and sleep and so it was not easier to find out time for her painting. Still she started living with the dream that one day she will start painting again. She and her husband started to manage some time for her and finally the day came when she held painting brushes once again after a break of 18 long years.
In October, 2015, their son turned 3 and for the first time, he started going to daycare (twice a week for 4 hrs a day) and Sudakshina without thinking about her rest started using this time to pursue her passion, painting. Sudakshina started exploring her skills on different subjects of paintings like still life art, Landscape, wildlife, portraits and so on.
Gallery: After a year, Sudakshina met Jean once again in 2016 Lexington Open Studios and was recognized by her at first glance. She offered Sudkashina once again to join the gallery and Sudakshina couldn’t resist this opportunity, so she joined Lexington Arts and Crafts Society in June 2016.
Her life got a new direction. There were three main angels who opened the door for her and they were her husband, aunt and Jean Hart. She decided her Artist name SuWani (Sudakshina + Ashwani).
All artist in the art gallery welcomed her with open heart and she learned a lot from them. In her 1st year of journey she took part in four major events of the art gallery and gained confidence by receiving appreciation and positive comments from her friends, other artists, art lovers and art collectors.
As the health condition always gave her set back and has been a perennial concern for her, which often temporarily paralyzes her normal life, but she knows how to overcome this storm and deal with it. After long suffering from some severe symptoms she was diagnosed with some serious health issues like ulcer, chronic sinus infection, chronic anemia and heart murmur. Though those made her slow, but now no one can take away dream from her.
AWARD: First year of her journey in the art gallery completed with an award – “Eva Kashket Prize for Excellence in Oil or Acrylic” in the 2017 annual painters show at Lexington Arts and Crafts Society.
Where sky is the limit then for what will she be waiting for. With all odds, her family responsibilities, frequent health problems she knows how to survive and that too with pride and head held high and if she gets your blessings and good wishes the journey would be all the way easy and memorable.
Sudakshina is very much thankful to God for whatever she got and able to achieve in her life. She has always been loved and cared by all of her close friends.
Thank you very much for reading.
“Eva Kashket Prize for Excellence in Oil or Acrylic”, 2019
“Eva Kashket Prize for Excellence in Oil or Acrylic”, 2017
Lexington Arts and Crafts Society, Lexington, MA, USA
Upcoming Exhibitions :
- Lexington Open Studios April 2019
Previous Exhibitions :
- Holiday Market Place, LACS – Dec. 2017
- Art walk Lexington – Nov. 2017
- Fall Fair, LACS – October 2017
- Burlington Public Library – Sept., Oct. 2017
- Lexington Fitness Club – August, sept 2017
- LACS Annual Show for painters guild – May 2017
- Lexington Open Studios – April 2017
- Cuisinart – Feb. 2017
- Holiday Market Place, LACS – Dec. 2016
- Lexington Art Walk – Nov. 2016
- Fall Fair, LACS – October 2016
- Back door gallery, LACS – Sept. 2016
- SOWA, Boston – July, 2016
- Artisan Market Place, LACS – July 2016
- Art and Adornment, LACS – June 2016