Capturing Nostalgia through Memories and Inspiration

With roots in India and a love for literature, Keerthana Jayakumar’s artwork is a captivating blend of personal experiences, cultural influences, and a deep connection to her childhood. In this exclusive interview, Keerthana shares insights into her artistic journey, her inspiration, and her upcoming projects.

When did you start painting, and what has influenced your artistic journey?
Keerthana: I have been painting since I was 10 years old, dedicating years of consistent practice to my craft. While I am mostly self-taught, I have also had the opportunity to apprentice with talented instructors. My inspiration primarily stems from nostalgia for my hometown, Indian poetry, and classical literature. I often feature old neighborhoods and localities that hold deep sentimental value, such as Besant Nagar and the Bay of Bengal. My current series draws inspiration from my childhood and Anita Desai’s enchanting short story, “Games at Twilight.”

How has your move to a new country impacted your artistic process?
Keerthana: Moving to a new country has intensified my sense of nostalgia. Being exposed to the art scene in Canada has broadened my sources of inspiration. I now draw influence from my Indian roots and the wonderful art I’ve discovered in Canada. This fusion of experiences has enriched my artistic journey and expanded the stories I seek to tell through my paintings.

What draws you to capture childhood wonder and share it through your art?
Keerthana: Childhood is a time of innocence, curiosity, and boundless imagination. It is a phase when we experience the world with wonder and awe. As an artist, I aim to recreate and share some of the enchantment I felt during those formative years. It’s a way for me to reconnect with my own childhood memories and offer viewers a glimpse into that magical realm.

Have you considered how your art contributes to the broader cultural landscape?
Keerthana: While my art is deeply rooted in my personal experiences growing up in India, I haven’t consciously thought about its broader cultural impact. However, art has a way of transcending borders and connecting people from different backgrounds. If my paintings resonate with a broader audience and contribute to a shared sense of wonder and nostalgia, that would be truly meaningful.

Have you learned any new techniques or drawn inspiration from artists in Canada?Keerthana: Yes, living in Canada has exposed me to a multitude of techniques and diverse artistic styles. I have had the privilege of learning from talented artists and drawing inspiration from their unique perspectives. Canada’s thriving art culture, with its rich diversity of artists from around the world, has been a constant source of inspiration and growth for me.

Have you faced any challenges on your artistic journey so far?
Keerthana: Fortunately, I have not faced any major challenges on my artistic journey thus far. I have been fortunate to have a supportive network of family, friends, and fellow artists who have encouraged and uplifted me along the way.

Can you give us a sneak peek into your upcoming projects?
Keerthana: Exciting things are on the horizon! I have two shows in the works, but I can’t reveal all the details just yet. To stay updated on my latest projects and announcements, be sure to follow me on Instagram @artbykeetu.

(Keerthana moved to Canada in 2013 to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Toronto. She is currently working as a full time Data Engineer. Follow her @artkeetu)

Anjali Shetty
Written by

Anjali Shetty

A seasoned journalist with 14 years of experience in the field, I have a diverse portfolio of work, covering a wide range of topics from news and entertainment to food and lifestyle. Navigating the world of parenting now, I am inspired to share my insights and experiences on this beautiful and challenging adventure. Writing about Marathi cinema is a passion of mine, as I find immense joy in unraveling the cultural that this industry offers.