Utopia (1993)

This was my first oil painting. I painted it over two and a half months from September to December 1993. On the advice of Mr Purohit, I’ve used a lot of sap green and burnt sienna in the painting, and used it everywhere, so that a very strong sense of harmony emerges.

It is based on the 1795 work,Landscape with Rainbowof Joseph Wright, currently housed at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery, Derby, England.

During a visit back from Singapore - end of the year 1995 or 1996

A Taj called India (1997-2003)

Many of you have seen this painting in various stages of completion and have contributed to it in one way or the other. Though nothing out of the ordinary and with less than a month’s painting time, it was completed over a span of 5 1/2 years and ended up travelling quite a bit.

It started its journey in June 1997 from India (Sikkim to Calcutta) to Singapore (1997: NTU Hall 6, 1998: Hall 8, 1999: 90 Tanjong Katong) to Hong Kong (2001) to California, USA (2001) and then back to Singapore (2002: 90 Tanjong Katong, Normanton Park) where it finally saw the light of the day.

India – 8-10 days of painting time

  • The canvas was prepared by Mr. Sirdar Abdullah Khan and presented by his son Reza to me on my birthday in Sept 1993 (positively…or 1994)
  • The canvas lied behind my clothes in my wardrobe for years until I went home for vacation after NTU 2nd year and started the Taj Mahal on it
  • 1997: It was the 50th year of India’s independence and I wanted to contribute something in my own way – thought of painting the Tricolor with something very Indian in the centre.
  • Inspiration from a Nigel Hicks photograph of the Taj Mahal at sunrise (India, Toby Sinclair) – book borrowed from Devraj daju/Ingchuk while I was visiting Sanjog in Gangtok
  • Painting started at Anita didi’s place on June 18 and continued in Ajay daju’s room
  • A carpenter in Gangtok made a wooden frame for Rs 200 (S$8)
  • A well-wrapped canvas with the Taj and the orange sky travelled by bus through a landslide-hit route from Gangtok to Siliguri, by train (I think) to Calcutta and by air to Singapore

Singapore – 9 days

  • Painting aids presented by Prateek, Vasu, Lodha: copy of Toby Sinclair’s India and an easel
  • The mosque at the left was painted in Hall 8 (1998-99) (2 days)
  • The hill on the left, the rest house and part of the foreground was done in 90 Tanjong Katong and the sky was redone (7 days)

Hong Kong – April 2001

  • During my 2-day stopover in Hong Kong, the Taj went from the airport to Parimal’s and Pranay’s place in Kowloon island.
  • I went through one of the toughtest PR-exercises convincing the SQ-staff to take the painting on board in a full-flight to San Francisco

Santa Clara, California, USA

  • The painting remained in the Patricia Drive guest house until after the Sept 11 attacks in New York
  • When I left for Hyderabad in September last week, Pallavi and Puneet became its custodians and kept it safely with them

Singapore – October 2002 (5 days)

  • Puneet and Pallavi drove to Fremont to deliver the painting to Vivek Vedagiri, who carried it to Singapore in his luggage
  • It remained in Tanjong Katong until November 2002, after which I moved it to Normanton Park
  • In Jan 2003, when Sony didi stopped over in Singapore on her way to Prateek’s wedding, told her that it’ll be finished soon
  • The last person to see it in its dormant stage was Sien Hong I guess
  • Finished it over five days in January
  • Harry, Shin Ye and Andre were the first critics
  • What started at Anita didi’s and Kamal jeejajee’s place got completed on their 10th wedding anniversary – 28 Jan 2003

inspiration for the sky

I remember you (1994)

I painted this portrait over a month’s time in 1994, mostly in Mr. Purohit's place, when I was in my last year of school. The basis of the portrait was a series of photographs of the subject - my eldest sister Manju didi, who had passed away in 1998, with the sari taken from Anita didi's engagement photos. This was my first attempt to work on a portrait.

I ended up making her looking older than she looked.

Jungle cheer (2007)

On the way back from Prateek’s house on Feb 3, 2007, Archana and I bought small oil boards from Takashimaya, Orchard Rd. Painted this in 2 Sunday sittings – on Feb 4 and Feb 11.

It’s a copy of a painting that hung on the wall of our rented house in Chinese Garden, left there by the landlord.

Gave it to Anita didi.

Oil rig (2007)

This was the first painting that I did as a commercial order, and also a painting that I did with Archana. I started it, Archana painted the majority of it, and then I completed it.

The Sacred Mountain (2013)

I wanted to do a painting integrating the majestic Kanchenjunga mountain range - that I see from my home window in Sikkim, with the symbols of Lord Shiva, who abode is Mount Kailash. You will see Lord Shiva's crescent moon, the river Ganga flowing from his hair, his Trident (Trishul), and the Shiva Linga.

Journey into Fine Arts

I began drawing and painting when I was 6 years old. My sister taught me how to draw the lotus flower until I perfected it. I then used to practise copying pictures of Hindu deities – often with multiple arms and difficult to draw.

I don’t have a formal training in Art. In senior school, a new teacher to school, Mr Sanjay Purohit showed me that I could paint much better with more patience on each work.


Lets get in touch and talk about how we can collaborate. Email me or find me on social media.

agarwal @ simmons.edu


nareshag @ yahoo.com