IAAC Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art of the Diaspora 2014

Delna Dastur
Delna Dastur
Delna Dastur

Over the years as I developed as an artist, I came to the realization that the process of making a piece of art intrigues me as much as its subject matter. I am never satisfied with using one medium exclusively and always attempt to combine several.

I like the work to be complex, to be multi-layered. I usually begin by carefully choosing a paint color, keeping it liquid enough to be poured and manipulated over the surface of the canvas. This is followed by stamping. I use wooden textile blocks from India in combination with rubber stamps. Next comes the building up of textures. I rake through gels, pastes and clear gessoes using hardware implements and create patterns with templates.

Recently I’ve added yet another layer – transfers. These are selected images whose inks, via a medium, are transferred onto the canvas. It is only after completing these four layers that I begin drawing with charcoal. I embrace charcoal as my primary medium and use a variety of improvised tools to manipulate it.

Random strong lines drawn emphatically at the start of a piece guide the direction the drawing will take, and I permit myself to follow their lead, readily yielding any preconceived notion I may have had. I allow the subject matter to navigate itself, to rise from the medley of emerging shapes. As the images reveal themselves I layer them one upon the other, paying great attention to minute detail and the creation of transparencies, guiding the organic growth of the painting with great care. I want there to be a sense of elusiveness, of the possibility of different ways of interpretation. Intuition is my favorite tool and I embrace it mightily.

“Conflict - Nature versus Machinery” was the title of my solo show held in India last year. I have continued to explore this subject matter in this group of paintings. Cityscapes, floods, dancers celebrating the victory of nature over machinery play prominent roles on the canvases. Color is used to create the required mood and for this I use soft pastels over the initial acrylic washes.

By creating planes whose position is never quite clear, with buildings receding or perhaps advancing, I’ve tried to create compositions that would involve the viewer in the interpretation of the work. I want the viewer to be intrigued, to pause and contemplate the painting, to decipher its complexity, to discover concrete forms hidden betwixt the abstractions. Geometric shapes abut flowing lines, intricate details are adjacent to strong charcoal marks.

Subconsciously I am drawn to the brilliance of the colors I was surrounded by during my childhood in India. As a result my body of work on the one hand consists of black and white drawings and on the other canvases saturated with color.

I endeavor to transport the viewer beyond the lure of color and subject matter. I want him to feel the intensity of my commitment.


2000 - Advanced Abstract Art, The Art League, Alexandria, Virginia
1977 - M.F.A. - Oil Painting, The American University, Washington D.C.
1971 - B.A. - Art History, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts
1967 – B.A. - English/French, The University of Bombay, India

2009 – Juror, Capitol Hill Art League
2008 - Lecture on ‘Appreciating Abstract Art’ at the Prince of Wales Museum,
and at Gallery Beyond, Mumbai, India
2006 - Present, Faculty,Smithsonian Associates, Washington DC
2002 - Present, Faculty,The Art League, Alexandria, Virginia
2006 - Faculty, Vanderzee School of Art, Alexandria, Virginia
2006 - Juror, Capitol Hill Art League

2013 – Faculty Show, The Art League, Alexandria, Virginia
2012 – Gallery Art Motif, New Delhi, India
2012 – Faculty Show, The Art League, Alexandria, Virginia
2011 – Esparanza Education Fund
2011 – Gallery Plan b, Washington DC
2011 – Twelve Gates Gallery, Philadelphia
2011 – Erasing Borders, Indo American Arts Council, Traveling Exhibit
2011 - Sketchbook Project, Brooklyn Art Library
2010 – Katzen Art Center, Washington DC
2010 - Solo show, Gallery Art Motif, New Delhi, India
2009 - India Art Summit, New Delhi
2009 - Capital One, The Corporate Art Program, McLean, Virginia
2009 - Auction for Nanubhai Organization, Nonprofit Organization, New York City
2008 – Gallery Art Motif, New Delhi, India
2008 – Saffron Art Website,
2008 – Erasing Borders, Indo American Arts Council, New York
2008 - Gallery Beyond, Mumbai, India
2007 – Katzen Art Center, Washington DC
2006 - Cymroza Art Gallery, Mumbai, India,
2006 - The Ninth Street Gallery, Washington DC
2006 - Art Musings, Mumbai, India
2005 - The Market Street Bar and Grill, Reston, Virginia
2005 - The Grinning Byrd Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio
2005 – The Pierce School, Washington DC
2004 – Indo-American Arts Council, New York, New York
2003 – Prince Street Gallery, New York, New York
2003 – Heritage India Gallery/Lounge, Washington D.C.
2002 – Carspecken-Scott Gallery, Wilmington, Delaware
Page 2 - Delna Dastur Resume

2002 – The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, Delaware
2001 – Greater Reston Art Center, Reston, Virginia
2000 – The Principle Gallery, Alexandria, Virginia
2000 – The Shoreby Club, Cleveland, Ohio
1993-2000 – The Art League, Alexandria, Virginia
1993-2000 – The Capitol Hill Art League, Washington D.C.

2013 – Gallery Plan b, Washington DC. Group show

Full student scholarship to Wellesley College
Full student scholarship to the American University
Several professional awards

2012 – Fezana Journal, Spring Issue
2011 – Washington Post Review of art show at Gallery Plan b, November
2010 - SPAN, article, March/April issue
2010 – Time Out Delhi, Critic’s Choice and review, March issue
2010 – First City, review, February issue
2010 - Indian Express, review, February
2010 - SPAN calendar, Published by the U.S. Embassy in India
2010 - Gallery Art Motif Calendar, New Delhi, India
2009 - The Mint, New Delhi
2009 - Gallery Art Motif Calendar
2009 - The Hindu, New Delhi
2009 - The EXPRESSNewsline
2008 – Afternoon Paper, Mumbai, India
2008 – Art League Calendar
2007 – Art League Calendar
2006 - Cymroza Art Gallery, Mumbai, India, Catalog – A Work of Art, A work on Paper
2000 – Elan Magazine, Cover and lead article
2000 - The International Indian
The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The McLean Gazette

State Bank of India, New York, NY
Hilton Hotel Worldwide Headquarters, Virginia
Astra Zeneca, Wilmington, Delaware
PRTM, Washington DC
Private collections in the United States, London, Hong Kong and India

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