A South Asian painter hopes to inspire others to express themselves through art

Suruchi Suda says art is in her DNA.

So much so that she quit her corporate day job to pursue her passion. Now she hopes other members of the South Asian community might be inspired to try painting themselves.

The Airdrie-based artist enjoys painting colorful depictions of popular Indian deities like Krishna and Ganesh, and colorful works that reflect her Indian heritage and upbringing.

“It’s in my DNA. My mom is an artist, my sister is an artist. My mom does embroidery, painting, sewing, everything,” Suda said.

Suda came to Canada nine years ago from northern India. She quit her corporate job four years ago to pursue her dream of being a full-time artist.

Suruchi Suda poses with one of her signature colorful paintings. The Airdrie artist hopes to inspire others to pick up a paintbrush and try art as a hobby. (Submitted by Suruchi Suda)

“At first it was difficult. For a year I had practically nothing to do, but I’m busy now.”

“I am Indian at heart and I like colors, bright colors. Indian subjects like Krishna or Ganesha, they have many shapes and you can imagine them in all the colors. If I put more colors on my canvas it makes me happy and through it I want to spread happiness.”

Suda now sells its colorful paints to customers all over the world. They are also popular with Calgary’s Indo-Canadian community.

“India is a land of colors, so if my subject is Indian, I can put more colors in it. Krishna is a symbol of love and when I paint Krishna, I feel love, I feel blessed myself -even and when he goes to my client I feel like I send them a little love.”

Krishna is one of the most popular gods in Hinduism.

Another favorite subject for Suda is the elephant-headed Hindu god of early times, Ganesh.

Suruchi Suda has always been an artist but decided to follow her passion and go full time four years ago. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

“Ganesha is worshiped at the beginning of everything, so if you have Ganesha, you have Genesha’s blessings in your home or office. If you see Ganesha around you, you are blessed. Those two topics are my favorite topics,” said she declared.

But his work is not limited to Indian themes. Suda also paints horses and landscapes inspired by her new home in Alberta.

“I paint more South Asian things, so most of my clients are South Asian, but I sell some of my paintings to other communities, paintings other than Indian gods. Just a few months ago, I painted an angel, I also painted a house for a Canadian client, another painting went to an American.

Suruchi Suda rubs shoulders with another colorful array. (Submitted by Suruchi Suda)

Suda says she develops a bond with many of her paintings, which can make it hard to part with them once they’re finished and ready for a client.

“Sometimes I feel so sad and cry even when my paintings are sold. It’s like my baby is passing away, but there’s also happiness that they’re adopted.”

One of Suruchi Suda’s works hangs in his studio in the basement of his house in Airdrie. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

Suda says she wants to inspire other South Asians to take art seriously as a career. But becoming an artist isn’t on many parents’ radar when it comes to traditional career choices.

“I inspire, I would say, and I get a lot of teaching requests from the community,” Suda said. “When I started painting, I didn’t know if there were other South Asian artists in Calgary, but now they are emerging.

“I was an artist since my childhood but I had no idea that I could make a profession of it because there was no such exhibition. Then I came here and saw other artists selling their paintings and I was like, ‘Why can’t I do this?'”

Suda says other artists have inspired her and influenced her own journey to becoming a full-time painter and she hopes to provide the same inspiration to others.

She is busy painting several commissioned pieces and large canvases.

“I continue to work,” she said.

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