The Artists: Jayasri Burman, 56, & Paresh Maity, 51
Married: 18 years
This meeting of artistic minds has resulted in a collaboration between Jayasri and Paresh that can only be described as ethereal. Jayasri Burman and Paresh Maity are both artists who as people are as different as they are in sync. “When we go to an exhibition, I know exactly which painting she will like because I like the same painting. We often buy something for the home separately, knowing that the other will definitely like it,” says Paresh, speaking from their palatial home in Delhi.
Little wonder then, that they gravitated towards each other, 20 years ago, at an art exhibition in Kolkata. She came from a family of eminent artists and he was a budding artist. She had his attention from the moment he laid eyes on her. As he puts it, it was “everything about Jayasri” that attracted him! Jayasri and Paresh have since shared 18 years of marriage, friendship, unending conversations, surreal watercolours, ethereal sculptures and a creatively inclined son. Indeed, Paresh’s youthfulness, Jayasri’s grace and a mutual respect for each other’s space have helped their relationship blossom, while allowing them to grow as people and artists.
Interestingly, where they go their own individual ways is while working on their art. Their studios are as far apart as their styles, although a study of their subjects reveals complementary characteristics. While Paresh often creates water bodies, Jayasri depicts creatures living in water. Her work features the female form in all its glory, inspired by Indian folk style, and Paresh’s watercolours portray various locations like Kerala’s backwaters, Rajasthan’s sand dunes and Venice’s canals. One thing is sure. “We both like water,” says Jayasri. “I would love for the both of us to have a studio by the banks of a river or seashore!” Perhaps one day.
He says: She has brought harmony, love and peace to my life. We have found unity in sharing our home and art.
She says: We met on the path of painting and we were lucky enough to walk it together. I believe Paresh’s positivity is remarkable—that is what I am most attracted to. And there is never a boring moment!
He says: There is a clear understanding—when I am painting she is busy in her own world, and vice versa. In our art, though, we are like the north and south poles.
She says: Personal or public, one must always respect the other’s space. After that distance, or deliberation, we meet with joy and share our stories. We don’t plan it, but we end up colour-coordinated in our dressing. So we are on similar planes but, by myself, I just paint, paint and paint. Sometimes, I like to dance when I am very happy with my painting!
He says: We have similar tastes and enjoy long conversations about art. We also like to travel and accompany each other to exhibitions. We never have a big tiff. And even if we do, we give it a thought and time.
She says: We chat, talk, dance, sing and paint while we enjoy colours and nature and are together into our art. But although we share a common love for nature, I feel too lazy to take long walks with him and he respects that. He also doesn’t like to watch TV, while I do! So, I often have to wait for him to leave the house to steal my TV time!
He says: From the moment we met, the way we work, we just fit together and have been able to maintain harmony.
She says: Every day, we have a discussion about something new, about nature, a story, something we saw….
He says: Time has a way of automatically fixing everything. You just need patience.
She says: He is always there for me.
Photo: Vicky Luthra / S V Photographic Featured in Harmony — Celebrate Age Magazine February 2017
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