Keene State students and Keene community members painted Indian Art together at the Indian Paint Night in the KSC Science Center on Friday, November 22.
Assistant Professor of computer science at KSC Dr. Meenalosini Vimal Cruz put the event together as part of the KSC Diversity Committee, sponsored by the Diversity and Multiculturalism Office and supported by Dr. Dottie Morris. The event was also a collaboration with the Keene India Association and the Historical Society of Cheshire County.
Cruz was born in India and has been teaching at Keene State since 2017. Cruz said art is like a bridge that connects multiple cultures.
About 30 people participated, including both KSC students and community, in the paint night. Cruz said, “Participants were from different age groups from seven years to 70 years.”
The painting was inspired by an Indian painter Jamini Roy.
Jamini Roy is known for his style of combining western and traditional art.
Cruz said, “We wanted to have some Indian touch and it has an Indian touch, and it should be achievable in two hours.” She added,” We selected something popular and easy to draw.”
Three attending mentors Bijaya Paul, Vidhya Sreenath and Sharanya Budakoti were helping participants, supported by Indhu. “All are amazing artists from the Keene community made this event possible,” Cruz said.
Sharanya was the youngest of three teachers for the Indian paint night. Sharanya said, “We had this one painting that everyone is trying to make. We did it step by step; first we did basic steps and then we moved to colors,” Sharanya said. “It was fun for me, especially [on a] Friday night; otherwise, I would have been in technology,” Sharanya added.
Sharanya was born in India and is now a sophomore at Keene High. “It can definitely have a big impact,” Sharanya said. “I feel like people can really learn a lot about our culture just by looking at our art and trying to do it.”
Painting with a diverse group of people was a new experience for some KSC students.
KSC first-year student Isabelle Costa said, “I like how it was very welcoming and relaxing. Everyone is really nice and I didn’t know anybody.”
Costa is a nutrition and public health major. She said it was her first time doing Indian art. “[Paint night] gives more options for students to do rather than just doing random things or being in their rooms all day,” Costa said.
The Keene Indian Association was one of the collaborators for the paint night. President of the Keene India Association Ritu Budakoti said events such as paint nights bring communities together, making them richer and stronger. “They bring people together and that’s what we need at the current time, I believe,” she added.
Ritu said, “Even though we all started at different points, the beauty lies in how it came together as one big picture.”
Benajil Rai can be contacted