Atignas Art: A Tribute And A Mission – “All That I Am, Or Hope To Be, I Owe To My Mother”

Painting at Women’s Self Defense Centre in Mumbai to inspire the woman to fight and with a hope that women’s era will come.

“She will Rise” She is independent; she is strong; she is life. This painting is about a girl who rises strongly amid societal pressures. As she transcends from a girl to a woman, she walks along a fiery path — absorbing the fire and turning that fire into light. The rope of expectations that had once chained constrained her — burns out too. She frees herself and leaves of trail for others to emulate.

Harshita Nandwani calls herself an artist, who found painting an outlet for her artistic expression. After leaving her well-paying job at an MNC bank in Mumbai, she returned home to Surat to pursue her passion and founded Atignas Art. Atignas Art is dedicated to her mother Sangita (Atignas is Sangita in reverse), and now Harshita is on a mission to expand the reach of visual arts.

Harshita believes that art is an emotion; art connects with the soul. However, art is considered expensive and often beyond the reach of ordinary mortals. She has opened her own studio in Surat, where every human irrespective of their financial status can experience art in its myriad forms, beginning with her own paintings. She is also exploring the concept of ‘Art on Rent’ for corporate’s, to let art have a wider reach and to let people experience art without owning it.

“Atignas Art is dedicated to my mother. She is an epitome of all things creative – whatever artistic in me, whatever creative in me has been passed on to me, by her”, says Harshita.

“Ever since my childhood, I wanted to make my mother happy. I just wanted to see her smile. All the worries of the world end, whenever I see that smile, though it’s a tough job. She is a perfectionist while I am not,” says Harshita. Harshita is still eagerly waiting for that day when her mother would walk up to her and say, “I am proud of you”. The wait isn’t over because every time Harshita achieves something, her mother pushes her limits further, not allowing her to settle and get too comfortable with the present.

Harshita is an emotional person, and she candidly opens up with me while saying, “I cry almost everyday when I am alone. I like to feel my emotions. Painting is akin to meditating, my way of looking at the world – joys, sorrows, achievements, failures, dreams, hopes, aspirations and beliefs find a perfect blend on the canvas.  Whatever I feel is reflected in my paintings”.

Her mother dropped out of college after getting married and took up family responsibilities. She used to paint as a child.She is an active supporter of Harshita’s work, shedding down words of wisdom at every step of the painting, and encouraging her to always chase her dreams and thrive.

Glass painting done by Harshita’s mother in 1975

Harshita fondly remembers all the times her mother has supported her. She says, “I never thought of becoming an artist. Art was a hobby at best, but not a profession. My mom always supported me, weather it was moving to a new city for further studies, working in an MNC, starting up a new company called or deciding to quit everything to pursue my passion. I still remember the day she baked a cake to cheer me up, when I was crying after a bad break-up.”

After the 2000 Gujarat earthquake, Harshita’s family went through a financial turmoil. She hails from a city where people are still orthodox and bound by social norms like girls getting married right after they finish college. Harshita explains that it was because of her mother’s relentless support emotionally and financially, that she could pursue her Master’s in Business Administration. So, it wasn’t a surprise when her mother stood by her, the day she decided to quit a well-paying MNC job to pursue her love for art. Her  mother’s presence and views are reflected in each of her paintings.

As a child, Harshita used to create artwork in the form of paintings, crafts, sketches, etc using different materials. She used to paint on the wall, the largest canvas within her reach as a kid. Her mom always encouraged and helped her to experiment with different techniques and style. Though her mother was not a professional artist, some people are just gifted, and she had great passion and understanding of the various facets of art.

Its our pleasure to introduce all our readers to Harshita’s paintings and her world of art. Below are some photos of hand picked painting by her that she wanted to share with all of you. A lot of her work is abstract and she explains beautifully the emotions that led to the creation of each of her paintings.

Harshita’s paintings exhibited at Tedx Dharavi                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Emotional Riot: Have you ever struggled with controlling the infinite number of emotions that crowd your mind? Most of us do… either in mornings, or late nights, while driving or doing some chore. Emotions have their own ways of playing with your mind. This painting exemplifies how a conflict in my emotions led to the creation of this wonderful piece of art! 🙂                                                                                                                                                                                

Ice: They look so beautiful from a distance. Snow-covered mountains of different shapes and sizes, as if they are trying to project a distinct personality. As we go near them, they greet us with extreme temperatures, rocky terrains, thin oxygen layers, reminding us about her vulnerabilities before the powerful forces of nature. The more we underestimate the power beneath, the more it returns to haunt us.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Rage: This painting signifies a powerful energy that transforms into fierce passion. Passion to create; passion to live. The yawning emptiness eventually explodes into an infinite effervescence that gives birth to a creative spectacle for the world to experience and enthrall. A feeling unlike anything…the chaotic madness finally makes sense.                                                       


Symphony: Dance of emotions on the tunes of music                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Entangled: This painting signifies the entangled paths of my life journey. I am sure, yours is similar 🙂 We, unaware of the direction, walk on a specific path, believing it will lead us to our destination, but the path changes with every situation, emotion and people we connect with. And when we look back, we see this web and what we are now is because of these paths. Nothing goes as planned, so believe in the magic of your journey.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
Life in a moment: I created this painting early morning, after getting inspired by the work of Little Clark. The painting signifies hope and beauty of every moment in our life. It signifies that life is beautiful if you know where to look :). This painting brings joy to the viewer and will remove anxiety from the viewer’s mind as the present moment of the painting, is so beautiful that one wants to stay in that moment without thinking of future i.e. the next wave.                                                                                                                                                          

Hidden smile: She smiles because it is the easiest and the fastest way to switch from the real world to the fantasy world. She smiles when she is really happy, or she wants to feel happy. She smiles when she is really connected to her emotions or when she wants to ignore the emotions. She smiles when she knows that the other person will not understand her or when she doesn’t want the other person to understand. She smiles when she agrees with you or when she doesn’t want to go into debate. She smiles… And she will smile.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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