At a time when the pandemic has hugely affected the arts and culture industry, with artists struggling to find the right clientele for their work, actor Sonakshi Sinha along with her brother Luv and Kussh has launched an art venture called the House of Creativity (HOC) that bridges the gap between the artists and the buyers. HOC is a unique online platform that showcases and promotes emerging Indian artists here and abroad.
Sonakshi’s passion for art was evident during the lock down when she gave us a sneak peek into her sketches and paintings through her social media feeds. She says, “(Art is) Something that I turn to in busy times when I want to find some calm.” Through HOC she wants to give emerging artists the right platform. “A platform, where they can reach out to people and people can see their artwork,” she says adding that’s why a digital platform in the current times seemed like the apt solution.
In an exclusive interview, Sonakshi talks to Cosmo India about her new passion project and how she plans to empower artists in remote parts of the country and then moves on to tell us about her upcoming releases and the changing ideals of beauty in Bollywood. Given below is an excerpt from the interview.
Sonakshi Sinha with her brothers Luv and Kussh Sinha
Cosmo: We saw you paint a lot during the pandemic, is that when you rediscovered your love for art?
Sonakshi Sinha: “I have always had an inherent love for art. I used to sketch and then I turned towards painting a few years back. Ever since then it's been a big part of me. Something that I turn to in busy times when I want to find some calm. During the lockdown I got a whole lot more time. It just took me right back to it!"
Cosmo: Tell us about the kind of art you create and the mediums you use
SS: "I sketch with markers and I paint with acrylic paints on canvas and I think it took me a while to figure out what I really want to do with my art and different styles. I started doing abstract paintings first, then I moved on to a whole lot of colours and then I started making animal and female faces and forms. I use bright, vibrant, modern colours and somewhere eyes have to be present in my paintings. I’m obsessed with making eyes."
Sonakshi with her painting
Cosmo: What kind of research went into the House Of Creativity and how much time did it take for you to actually execute this?
SS: "I will give my brothers most of the credit for the planning process because they were the ones involved right from the beginning. In fact, Luv came up with the name “House of Creativity” and I think it’s so apt because we are three siblings and are part of a “house” that’s creative in its own way. A lot of planning did go into it. The art industry has been hit badly by the pandemic. People are not able to go out to exhibitions where artists can showcase their work. So I wanted to give those artists a platform where they can reach out to people and people can see their artwork. We put together a really brilliant team, of an art manager, art curators, who have access to different artists within the country—established as well as emerging! So they helped with getting artists on board. It was a wonderful process and we enjoyed every bit of it.”
Cosmo: Do you think this digitisation of art was long due?
SS: "I think now because of the pandemic it was definitely needed, we can’t physically go out to see the works of these artists. Digitisation also brings the world closer to each other. A person in the United States can now see and purchase my art. This makes art accessible to a larger audience. It has opened up a lot more doors and markets for the buyers and the artists as well."
Cosmo: At any point will we see artworks of Bollywood stars come up on the platform since Salman Khan, Jacqueline Fernandez and fews others are known to be artists as well?
SS: “We would love to have them, if they wish to send us their artworks (chuckles). They are very good, I have seen both of their works. It would be awesome if they would want to be on our platform.”
Cosmo: Coming back to movies, you will be seen next in Bhuj, where you portray a strong-headed woman, do you think beauty ideas in Bollywood are changing? Is the focus now more on a woman’s strength and character and not just how she looks?
SS: “I really enjoyed playing may character in Bhuj. I have made a conscious shift towards choosing characters that stir something in me and in portraying a strong image on screen. A lot of focus has shifted to a woman’s character in Bollywood movies. There are such amazing roles that are being written for women right now. I think it is a great time to be a female actor in the industry.”
Cosmo: Have you ever been subjected to stereotypes and how do you deal with it?
SS: “An actor's life is full of people passing judgements, slotting you into a certain character or role. For example, when I started out, since I have a quintessential Indian face, I was given roles of quintessential Indian heroines. People said that you won’t be able to do anything other than this. I guess you just have to black it out and carry on and do your work. Honestly, I have no complaints of being that quintessential Indian looking heroine. It gave me the kind of reach and audience that I have now and it gave me some blockbusters hits. But I think it’s up to me to choose roles that prove my versatility and make people see me in a different light. I I did achieve that to some extent over the years. It takes time, but you do it, you just have to keep your head down and keep working.”
Cosmo: On that note, what would you like to tell young women out there who get influenced by digitally altered images on social media and set unrealistic beauty goals?
SS: “While growing up, I also wanted to look up to someone who represented a normal Indian woman. For me it is important that I portray a healthy and positive body image. I want to tell all women out there that you need to be comfortable in your own skin, do your thing, there’s a lot of negativity on social media right now, so be aware of that and don’t take it to heart and go on with your life. Do what makes you happy, that’s really important.”
Cosmo: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
SS: "Honestly, you never know where life takes you. I was the first one among my friends who wanted to get married but all of them are married now and popping babies (laughs). So, I’m going to take one day at a time. I have a lot happening on the work front, Bhuj is up for release, I have a series with Amazon next, which has been directed by Reema Kagti. I just started a new film three days back, called Kakuda with RSVP, it’s a horror comedy. It’s the first time that I’m exploring this genre. I don’t like watching horror films but the comedy factor was so amazing that it was too good to just let it pass. I’m really excited about this project."