Artist Rouble Nagi: 'I would never like to portray Kashmir in gloom'

Not Stones, Use Brushes, Throw Colours  

SRINAGAR – Calling Kashmir a “big and dearest heart,” prominent sculptor, mural designer and artist, Rouble Nagi says that the decades old violence across Kashmir valley has taken soul out of its body, while she suggests that any form of “art would be a cure to the wounded valley.”

She says that the brewing anger among the Kashmir youth was genuine but they should replace the stones with brushes and colours.

“Kashmir is my love; honestly I would portray Kashmir as a big heart,” Nagi said in a candid chat with Kashmir Observer. Nagi is currently holidaying in  Kashmir with her family and friends.

“Youth here should just close their eyes and whatever comes into their mind and heart, they should portray the same on the canvas,” she says “I would never like to portray and paint Kashmir in gloom, because I believe that these were just few unfortunate years.”

Inspired by life and the experiences that come with it, Nagi says that travel is a big part of her life, that gives her a big kick in portraying the varied nature of colours and themes, she says it helps her to  incorporate colour and texture to the medium she is working with.

“I am the only Indian artist who does nearly 38 different mediums and have done exhibitions of my work all over the world. Travel plays a big role in my work, it becomes a great teacher for me,” she says.  “I have grown up all over India. My travel has a lot to do with the art that I took up. When I was doing my 12th standard, that’s when I really thought that I am going to make this (painting) my profession. This is something that I was born with.”

Nagi says that the one phenomenon that is a constant in life is ‘change’ and she keeps the element of change floating in her art work.  “I keep changing my theme and medium during work, I get bored when I repeat the art because it mars my creativity.”

Crediting her husband for her success, Nagi says “After my marriage, I saw my husband, having a lot of art in his house. Then I thought things will go smooth now. He proved a big push in my success and in exploring the artist out of me.”

Nagi says, she is a great admirer of the works of Rabindranath Tagore, Amrita Sher-Gill and MF Husain. 

Another charming aspect of her life is her son, who she says keeps her on toes whenever she visits any place for work.

When Nagi paints, she likes to spread the canvas on the floor and walk around it. It makes her feel close to the canvas and lets her approach the subject better.

Hailing from the Jammu region, she comes from a well of family of an ex-army officer.

“Being an army officer’s daughter, I had a privilege of traveling all across country, staying at various places. I was at home everywhere.  I was fascinated by the diversity of every state and inspired by it. I’ve been painting since I was about five. I could and still can, spend an entire day with a blank sheet and a box of crayons. Murals and sculptures came later when I started experimenting with materials. I fall in love with every piece I make that sometimes I feel like keeping it for myself,” she says.

“I wanted to be an artist all my life,” Nagi says. 

“Art also gives you meditation. So when you really want to portray your place, your people, close your eyes and strike the canvas,” she says.  

“I am an abstract artist. I like bold strokes, because I am not a shy woman as I like to stand for myself and I like to stand for others. I also like to portray bright colours in my art,” she says.


“Life inspires my art. Art has given me my life. Meanings in my work is open, I apply natural and simple media especially to my work like for example wood implies for the reason that it has annual rings. Stone since it has existed a long time ago symbolizes antiquity; copper a product of modern science stands for technology and the future of human society. This search for complete expression has been definitive aspect my work,” she says.

As a resourceful artist, Nagi says, she has worked in various media, like paintings, sculpture, ceramic, metal-relief in different kind of metals, stone carving, enameling on copper and steel, mosaic.

“In my state, Kashmir, we need someone who could reach to these children and make them tell their stories through the various mediums of art.”

RNAF: Building Foundations For Destitute Kids   

The artist uses her experience to help poverty-stricken kids discover their inner rembrandt, the artist.

“Every child has a right to express their creativity,” believes Nagi, who has been organizing art camps for underprivileged kids for some time. Interestingly,  she has tried to take this cause further by roping in friends such as popular filmmaker Subhash Ghai and art patron Asha Patel to form the Nagi Art Foundation (RNAF), with the vision of providing a platform for these children and nurturing their latent artistic talent.

“I wanted to work with the children of Kashmir. They are so talented but grief stricken, so working with them would be a wonderful experience.”

“My foundation works closely with NGO Pratham to help organize these camps supported by senior artists from both India and abroad. I also sponsor artists who couldn’t exhibit their art and wok,” she says: “RNAF sponsors and curate shows for young upcoming and physically challenge artists, who cannot afford to exhibit their works. Sponsorships in the field of arts and entertainment for young students will also be provided by the foundation.”

The former Pakistani Cricket skipper, Wasim Akram and actor Salman Khan have been signed on as the good will Ambassador for the RNAF.

"There is a long way to go for my work and art and I would certainly keep my heart in Kashmir when I start any project here," Nagi says.

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