Anjali V: Visual notes from a train journey

Co-passengers, whom she keenly observed on a routine train journey during her college days, become the muse for the Bangalore-based artist’s series

Everyday experiences can inspire and shape an artist's work. A few years ago when Anjali was studying fine arts at Bangalore University, she used to commute by train from her home in Muddalinganahalli by train, 50km away. During these journeys, Anjali started observing her co-passengers keenly and taking pictures of them on her mobile phone as well as sketching them in her drawing book. Later, in her studio, she combined elements from both the sources and created paintings.

These paintings document people and their various moods in second and general class compartments of the Indian Railways. What she depicts is a slice of train journey. All the works in this series are about the inside of a train and locates people at its center. Even when the outside platform is seen, it is from inside the compartment. When she started these works, she was also working with Ganjifa (circular playing cards popularised by the Mughals, which featured exquisite miniature paintings) so the round shape in her train paintings flowed from there. One can see in her work, her familiarity with these surroundings. There are individuals, families with babies, as well as tea vendors and hawkers, and each frame has a story to tell. Anjali captures all of them with great empathy since she is working from a first-hand experience. People who appear in these works come across as authentic.

Due to the intimate scale of these works, one has to view the details up close. The intricate details captured in a tiny frame, as little as four inches in diameter, brings an undeniable miniature quality to these works and captures the viewers' attention.

Anjali attended the Ravindra Kalaniketan in Tumkur before completing her BFA from Bangalore University in 2014. She won the Karnataka Lalitkala Academy award in 2017. She lives and works in Bangalore.

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