Climbing the Walls - Art of a first responder - Kalpna Patel

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ART OF A FIRST RESPONDER: Hand of the Artists Growing Up; (Memory) Gramma’s Backyard; Gardener and Son; Narrow alleys of Gujrat;  Scaffolding Looking Up; (Moments at Home) Wine and Cheese; Pears; (Domestic Abuse) Woman/Abuse, Domestic Violence
Work by Kalpna Patel

Artist Statement:
In quarantine, Yes, I did feel trapped, but since I was constantly on the forefront, actually grinding covid patients’ lung tissues etc. I was not bored at home. When I was home, I did art to unwind and felt my weekends off were such a leisure luxury! I keep crawling out of my home walls every day to serve the community. I am more front line than most doctors as the viral load in lung tissues that I was dealing with can be high!! I used art to escape the overwork. This is the other side of the spectrum of most people who have been trapped indoors.

As an artist and microbiologist, the study of life has always fascinated me.  Art represents a possibility to contemplate life, while microbiology provides the opportunity to explain it. I've focused my lens on everyday objects, treasured possessions, human movements, emotions and passages that compose life experiences; shared and unique, serene and vibrant, familiar and abstract. Art and science exist in a polarized state today. Science explains feeling while art transmits them. My works do not always define recognizable forms and shapes but explore multifaceted realms of memory and experience and let the observer independently interpret them. Using various forms of mixed media, my objective is to create a physical manifestation of a mind's eye. As DaVinci famously said, “Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.” I've loved painting since childhood. My father, a chief state architect to the President in my birth country of India, was a gifted artist and poet in his own right. It was with his encouragement that I first picked up a brush. He motivated me to always practice and instilled in me a life-long love of painting. After completing a Master's Degree in Microbiology, I was able to get back to my art, my original true love! I have studied art in India and here at Westchester Community College. I have exhibited my art in several galleries in India, WCC, and John C. Hart Library My art is vibrant and ever evolving. To me, art is not just looking at a "pretty picture". I strive for a sense of meaning, to reason a thought.  I want my art to evoke a feeling of poetry, sometimes soft whispering and sometimes steadfast and compelling. Each form or stroke has meaning.

Note on Domestic Abuse:
Quarantine has increased incidents of Domestic Violence. In the bottom left of Domestic Violence is a Hindi newspaper saying Castism in our society and the favoring of boy over girl children is a curse! The lady in the painting sees herself but shoves aside the issues to be dealt, as depicted in the newspapers. The violence is  given less importance than her beauty.

Empowerment that helps women in DV situations means education about gaslighting, a term that describes how the abuser makes the  abused confused about reality and truth with constant statements that makes the abused question her own perceptions. Statements like, “That never happened, you’re a crazy woman.” or “You are obviously confused. You have a really bad memory.” or “You caused this, I love you and you always start up."

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“Theatre takes place all the time wherever one is, and art simply facilitates persuading us this is the case”

- John Cage