Categories: THE BUZZ, Working in Isolation

THE BUZZ: Working In Isolation: Ritu Aggarwal

One Artist in Dehli Finds More Space in Her Compositions

Written by Cathy Breslaw

June 21, 2020

Most artists work in relative isolation.  Our collective art practices and the creative process demands it. It goes against the human urge to congregate and socialize.  Still, we persevere as the ‘call to create’ nudges us.  We then deliberately make space – intellectually, emotionally and physically for the act of creation. We move forward quietly, with intention and faith in the process. Never have artists been more aware of isolation than time now spent alone in this Corona Virus pandemic environment. It is not our choice, but as artists we are familiar and in some ways ahead of the game in our familiarity and relative comfort with loneliness of self -containment. This “Working In Isolation” series aims to highlight how artists are adapting and how their work has evolved as a result of the pandemic. Read more articles in this series HERE.

Artist Ritu Aggarwal in Dehli India, shares her experience with making art during this distressing and complicated  time.

1) How has your work shifted during the pandemic? Has it been a change in the process of your creating art? The mediums you use? The themes or concepts you are thinking about?
Before the pandemic, my geometrical spaces or architectural forms on the canvas were a little crowded and in a single medium. Also the color scheme was quit bold with dark tones but during the pandemic my work shifted to quite minimal. Now I have found some spaces in the composition. The color schemes have also shifted to lighter tones and with mixed media. Due to the lock-down the daily working situation has changed. There is no opportunity to go out to see the world physically, so this has also been a good time to do my art work more patiently. During the pandemic I was surprised that I found the environment and atmosphere around me more clean, peaceful and silent. Everything seems to be connected with nature and breathable.  And this gave me the new theme “Silent Spaces” for my upcoming works.  Now my new works are not as crowded as before.

2) What have you discovered about yourself as an artist during this pandemic?
When I came to know about this challenging pandemic situation, initially, I got scared but I decided to spend my time creating. Gradually I discovered that the natural world around me is recovering due to lock-down as pollution has lessened. Delhi is a very populated and polluted global city and I have lived here for the past 28 years and have suffered from asthma. Art work has always been a meditation for me then a profession , so in this current situation of  pandemic it helped me a lot to remain calm and positive though I have lost so many opportunities. I think if one looses  something , one gets other new opportunities. Alexander Graham Bell said  “When one door closes, another opens.” So new doors of online shows and other opportunities have opened. We are able learn more in this helpless situation. My way of working has changed . I am doing little research works, searching new mediums for my experiments etc.

3) What have been your biggest challenges working in isolation? Surprises? My home is my studio and my studio is my home. Before the pandemic I used to work either at my home in isolation or in Triveni (institution) with other artists which was quite interesting as there was always a positive environment. But due to the pandemic I’m stuck at home with my family which is quite distracting during my creative time. I am not getting enough ”alone time” for painting as this is a basic need of an artist, I think. The thinking process in isolation is necessary for creating art. My family is not particularly interested in art so this is a big challenge for me. I am discouraged as it is unlikely that there will be an art market for the next couple of years, but I will continue to make art.

Are you an artist who’s work has evolved significantly as a result of the pandemic? Please submit your work to Cathy Breslaw at for consideration as a featured artist in the Working in Isolation series: Please be sure to write “Working in Isolation” in the subject line.

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