Cat lover’s CATalogue with Devaki Singh, by Anaika Ajay

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A Mumbai raised animal lover first and foremost, Devaki Singh has a list of roles she is known for; a writer, a filmmaker, a fashion designer, but most importantly an artist. As you can imagine, the combination of art and animals is sheer bliss; in the form of these heavenly paintings that depict the harmony between animals and humans in nature.

Devaki’s love for cats, and animals in general, is very prominent in her work as she always manages to paint in an animal, whether it is the focal point or a supporting role, get it… because she’s a director? Her early works are mostly acrylic on canvas, using the pigmented paint to her advantage; with techniques like visible brush strokes, blending of colours, the use of the sky and the sea. They all point to the idea of depicting flow and movement through her works. Her respect and appreciation of nature is evident in her artwork and she rightfully says that “it is important that we get aware of our environment and do what we can, within our means and capacity, to protect it…before it’s too late.”

There is something very spiritual about her artworks, portraying animals and humans in harmony in natural settings like forests or underwater or even in space.What makes Devaki’s paintings unique are the distinctive large eyes her characters have. The dazed eyes definitely add to the calming sense of spirituality you feel while viewing her paintings, and almost look like cat eyes. Perhaps she uses this visual zoomorphism because cats are nocturnal and have such peculiar eyes to help them see at night, just like the nighttime settings she paints.

While her paintings exude an overwhelming sense of tranquility through the shades of blue (cool tones, that are on the darker side,) most of the animals are painted in warm tones such as yellows and oranges which, I feel, accredits to the warmth, love and happiness she gets from them.

Reminiscent of Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night,” some of her pieces seem like modern, surrealist depictions of his work, even having a similar colour scheme. Another artist that comes to mind while observing her work is Gustav Klimt; Devaki’s combination of patterns on her characters’ clothes and the animals gives it a very Art Nouveau vibe. Hints of her fashion design background seem to shine through in the outfits her characters -usually a female with large, beautiful eyes and long black hair, surrounded by animals and nature, (that I honestly think are self-portraits)- wear. It is possible that the patterns and textures she uses are an imitation of the prints on an animal’s body.

Artwork by Devaki Singh

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