Milburn Cherian: Creating nostalgia through art

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There are very few artists who can express misery without inculcating bloodshed and gothic themes into their works. Milburn Cherian's artworks are one of a kind. She expresses misery and suffering in the world by bringing life to the canvas, with insightful empathy. In her first solo art exhibition 'Old World New Palette' at the Lalit Kala Akademi in New Delhi, starting February 21, the visual communication graduate is familarising the audience with life that existed 500 years ago.

“My style is old school—500 years back in time, and thus the title. It is a body of 17 years of work, and I am showcasing 57 paintings. I will make the issue contemporary with colours and forms. I just bring out suffering in the world through my paintings and camouflage it with colours. This makes the works less painful,” she says.

One can find human conditions such as pain, suffering, poverty, which combines intense artistry with vivid detailing.

Explaining her technique, the Mumbai-born artist says, “I am a fan of using the finest brush for painting. I have a technique where I hide my brush stroke. Every time I paint, I try removing the sharp lines instead of redoing it. If I make a mistake, I just camouflage it instead of scrubbing or removing the paint. One can hardly find brush strokes in my paintings and this makes them appear as if they are prints instead of original works made with acrylic on canvas. Though it makes the process of painting a time consuming job, it adds uniqueness,” she clarifies.

Though the Mumbai-born artist is not a trained artist, she accidentally explored art in the year 1995. Since then, she has always been a part of several group shows. In fact, her works have also travelled across the world including New York, Japan, the UAE and Russia, leaving the viewers mesmerised.

“I don't plan a painting. Though I have tried doing it before, I fail to create it. My works come straight from my heart,” she says.

Cherian calls herself old school, someone who is not very happy with this technological era. So when she had to choose the theme of her solo show, she thought to title it 'Old World New Pallete'. “New technology is very frightening and since I am not a fan of modernism, I chose the title consciously to stay in the old world and bring back the nostalgia,” she adds.