The Art of Altruism!

Muscat: Her love for the scenic beauty of the Sultanate and its people is showcased in several of her paintings. A versatile self-taught artist, Dr Shalini Gupta Kumar is an altruistic artist.

An acclaimed international artist, Dr Shalini Gupta Kumar is a die-hard artist who became an artist by accident and has since been pursuing her passion devotedly.

A versatile self-taught artist, Dr Shalini has excelled in all mediums ranging from oil, mix, mosaic, silk, contemporary and abstract art, and is lending help to the local community. During the coronavirus pandemic, she extended help to those in need contributing the proceeds to various charity organisations.

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A member of the Omani Society of Fine Arts (OSFA) for the last 11 years, she exhibited her works in Brunei, Russia, Indonesia, Uganda and the UAE with many solo and joint painting expositions in Muscat and international levels.

Cultural patterns and local faces are her forte. Her wonder world of acrylic colours took meaningful direction during the lockdown days when she stayed positive and active.

However, charity seems to be her top motto as money earned from sales of her works went to the less privileged. She began a charity campaign through Ekal where unemployed women earned their livelihood by stitching masks, a necessity during the present pandemic.

She also took an initiative to share her ideas with students in Oman and other countries. As an art teacher, she taught at the PDO Recreation Centre, Muscat, for the past 11 years. When John Malcolm, former MD, PDO bid adieu to Oman in 2010, she painted the beautiful Ras al Hamra scenery with the portraits of Malcolm and spouse which was presented to him by the Minister of Energy and Minerals.

However, her passion for teaching art is exemplary. Dr Shalini conducted workshops for the past 11 years at different community centres in Muscat and also taught art to children at Shell School, Sakhalin, Russia. This was her most memorable moment when she was interviewed by Moscow TV and print media that enabled to sell many of her art works.

“I was proud that I could extend my knowledge and happiness to children and women artists through my art. My students were really encouraged and inspired. It was a heartbreaking experience during my time of departure from Sakhalin, a Russian island in the Pacific Ocean,” she recollects.

On July 3, 2020 one of her acrylic paintings was awarded by Incredible Talents, an online international competition.
A major project she worked on was for ‘Gratitude 50’, represented by artists from 19 countries and hailed by the media.

Explains Dr Shalini: “I was very happy to be chosen to paint the beautiful right side of the turban part of the portrait depicting some Omani cultural patterns. I am very proud of this memorable project and to lend my hand from the very first stage until the last.”

Lockdown days were best utilised by her. She notched up Chanakya Award for her poem on Teachers Day by ‘International Badlav Manch’ and award for acrylic painting by ‘Incredible Talents.’

“My passion to learn new aspects kept me active and motivated,” she says. Her art works are sold for helping the underprivileged.
Becoming a professional artist during the last 12 years was the right decision she ever made. Her art works were exhibited among the countries she visited from as far as Nigeria to Brunei. She was in-charge of an arts lab in a famous international school in Port Harcourt, a city in Nigeria, where she painted a huge mural each year during Christmas.

She also taught voluntary acrylic painting at PDO Arts Centre to ladies for many years. Organising an annual arts fair displaying art works of different varieties and styles by children from various classes was her penchant.

A passionate poet, orator, dancer and a trained laughter yoga teacher, she did her doctorate degree in Economics from Agra University, India.

Before lockdown, Dr Shalini led many anchoring programmes and free laughter yoga sessions through her Laughter Yoga Club at Qurum Natural Park. She also acted in a short movie named ‘Nurture Nature’ during lockdown. The movie was selected for screening at a few international film festivals and is on Vimeo and YouTube.

Her laughter yoga sessions to children and adults of various orphanages and old age homes both in the Sultanate and abroad is well received.