Many things happened in my life since my last post, but it doesn’t mean I stopped meeting interesting people in my daily life.
Today I want to present you Santhi Maniam, an artist, an active member of the exhibitions, organised by ”Creative women’s club arhus”, exhibitions at her own gallery in Aarhus, active member of ”Spouse community Aarhus” etc. She was a participant at the exhibitions ”Inspired by Aarhus” in 2016, ”Inspired by nature” in 2017, ”Look closer” in 2018 at ”TedxAarhus”, plus solo exhibitions at her gallery.
Tell a bit about yourself, what is your background, and how did you end up in Denmark? 🙂
My name is Santhi Maniam and I am from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My professional background is in Training and Facilitation. I worked as a Training Specialist for many years and in 2009 decided to take a break and travel alone around Europe. That is when I met my husband and after travelling back and forth, we decided to get married and I settled in Denmark in 2011.
When did you start painting?
In 2005 I started taking art classes with an established Malaysian artist and friend Jeganathan Ramachandran. It was a way to relax and to balance the hectic nature of my work, then. Slowly art became a lot more meaningful to me, with my art class, I exhibited a few times in Malaysia. When I first moved to Denmark, I didn’t know anyone, and I decided to paint as it gave me a sense of anchor and meaning. It was very calming and at the same time engaging and energizing.
You participated in several exhibition, inclusive a solo one. Tell about your experience. What is important, if one wants to organise/ take part in an exhibition?
As much as art is a creative process, the idea of exhibiting or participating in an exhibition requires one to be organised. There is a lot of administrative work and it is a process that needs to planned and administrated. It can be a challenging and exhilarating process, being the artist, curator, logistics coordinator, salesperson, administration and host all in one.
I find when you have good co-collaborators, people to help and support you, no matter how tedious, or difficult it is to set up, the result is always amazing. You need to enjoy the process and the right attitude and energy makes a difference.
Any room takes a new meaning and beauty with art, and every time I set up the art works, whether in my gallery or at an exhibition location, it is an amazing feeling.
You are active in Tedx Aarhus community. How did you get involve, and what are your tasks there? What do you want to give to people, who want to see the talks?
I have always enjoyed watching Ted Talks. When I was asked if I could help coach speakers in 2018, I said yes. It was a wonderful opportunity to be a part of the event and contribute and share my skills and knowledge as a facilitator.
In 2019 I was involved in the Tedx Aarhus Walks as a presenter.
I felt the only best way for me to contribute further is to volunteer in 2020. I am part of the Curation Team and we are responsible for speaker selection and ensuring the Speakers are supported and ready to make an impactful presentation. The core idea behind TED is ideas worth spreading and sharing, how a single idea can impact and make a difference, whether to think, remember it or do something differently as a result of it.
How do you describe your painting style?
My works have bold, bright colors and I find inspiration from nature. One can classify it as symbolic art as I use nature to symbolize a feeling or message that I would like to put across. Having said that, sometimes it is not certain what I start with ends as the way I thought it would be. The work takes a life and meaning of its own.
What is your favorite painting?
Each painting has a meaning attached to it; it is difficult to pick a favorite. There are some works, that take months and I become attached to it. Others are quick and flowing that I am surprised by their intensity and speed at which they materialise.
My own favorite painting of yours is the one with the woman I saw at your gallery, tell me the background of it? What did inspire you to paint it?
Well the painting of Muruga is a favourite of many. It was the first work I completed in Denmark. It is of a beautiful man, so I take it as a compliment if you think it is a woman. The work is my depiction of the Lord Muruga, a God from the Hindu Religion. However, it is not a religious work. Muruga is a god, I was very familiar with growing up. We listened to songs, stories and descriptions of him. I tried to put all about him that was in my head into a painting.
What artists inspire you?
I love the works of Frida Kahlo, Van Gogh, Picasso, Salvador Dali to name a few, the list is endless. Inspired by the genius of Leonardo da Vinci and works of Ravi Varma of India.
You painted several paintings during quarantine, how did you find time with kids at home and online studying?
I loved the time during quarantine. It was a pause button to many things, and it allowed me to focus on the things that are meaningful and what I loved. It was also a very stressful, uncertain time, with a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. Art was my coping mechanism, when all things was beyond my control, I needed the calming effect of art. An opportunity to create, add color and to seek joy.
Yes, it was also a busy time. I have two small children, online class and a husband who worked every day through the whole lock down situation. I guess, everyone had their own challenges and difficulties. I tried my best to engage my children with our own little activities and kept ourselves real busy. My takeaway is we really need very little things to keep ourselves happy, when you focus on what is important.
Tell me please about the education you are taking, and how do you hope it will influence your daily life?
I did a basis business education in Danish. The core objective was to learn business terminologies and the Danish business culture. Also, to stretch my Danish language skills and improve my employability in the job market. In this way, I hope to be able to continue painting and at the same time explore my opportunities in other areas of work. I truly believe in continuous learning and that life is all about moving forward, one step at a time.
Hope you are inspired by Santhi’s story and will look closer at her works. Have a nice day!