My Legacy and My Colours” – An exhibition of paintings by Roopinder Kaur Sandhu


@ Vikash Sharma | Sr Journalist

Artist Roopinder Kaur Sandhu’s exhibition titled “My Legacy & My Colours” opens this week at Bikaner House, New Delhi. The exhibition will be on view for a week, from 15th December to 21st December.
Commemorating Eighty-Three years of Roopinder Kaur Sandhu – who has touched many lives with her colour, forms and the tenderness of her brush, this exhibition presents more than thirty works from the artist including oils on canvas, photographs and text that share the artist’s treasured memories through the course of her extraordinary life. This exhibition also showcases her oeuvres into seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. It is an ode to the artist’s life captured through the lenses of how the passing seasons are a metaphor for the changes in our lives.
An artist cannot stop creating. The act of creation is as essential as breathing. Likewise, a warrior for social justice cannot stop confronting injustice. How can these two impulses coexist in one person – the creativity of the artist and the fighting spirit of the warrior? It is only possible with great difficulty and determination. They are compelling drives that pull in orthogonal directions. Possessing these complex and driving impulses, the artisr has cultivated intuition, insight and wisdom.
Her art expresses a love of beauty and the seasons. Her eyes are able to discern beauty even in amid the horrible destruction of a wildfire or the depth of a sunset that drinks in the light of the sky. Forever changing with the seasons, landscapes are dynamic, restless, and alive. Her paintings express a world perceived like a jewel discovered beneath a layer of seemingly conventional appearances.
Born in the late 1930s within a social circle where girls were more often reared as debutantes rather than encouraged for their talents and intellect, Ms Sandhu cultivated a deep appreciation for the need to advocate for women in a man’s world, especially the needs of young girls. Supporting the notion with the help of her family a percentage of proceeds will be donated to the Caring for the Girl Child Foundation and to her local Gurdwara for building a school. The artist also chooses to leave the world a better place for the next generation by making this one of a kind carbon neutral art exhibition in India with the help of her granddaughter Saba Rajkotia and Climes the company she work for.
About Roopinder Kaur Sandhu
All too often the story of one’s life can go unnoticed for decades as it becomes hidden amongst the privileged folds of society. The story of our protagonist, Roopinder Kaur Sandhu wouldn’t be any different if it were not for her silent resolve to boldly chart her own course not only in society, but also as an artist.
Born into a family known for its wealth, impeccable position, tremendous power, and unimpeachable repute, her story might seem to be taken from a page out of a fairy-tale. But to Sunny, as she was fondly called by her father, it was just the beginning – the start of an incredible life journey where she would become one of the most noteworthy women of Delhi’s Gilded Age.
Ranked amongst some of the country’s most successful industrialists, her father, Sardar Ajaib Singh married the fabled beauty Prakash Kaur of Layllpur (near Lahore). Roopinder Kaur Sandhu (Sunny) was born on the 19th of March 1939 at the sprawling family estate in Jamshedpur. The dynastic name of her paternal and maternal ranks carried with it a flurry of Rai Bahadurs, H’ble Sardar Sahibs and Sirs. With an upbringing comprised of doting parents, governesses, schooling at Tara Hall in Shimla and her intermediary studies at the Roman-Catholic Loreto School in Calcutta, Roopinder’s formative years resembled a vibrant canvas portraying an exultant structured life.
Known fondly to family and friends affectionately as Roop, her creative talents took root early under the watchful eye of Mother Elisia at Tara Hall. Her confident brush strokes and an inherent knack for landscape accentuated by her flair for Impressionism shone brightly through in her works.
Her parents encouraged and cultivated her genius, and Roop’s talents soared after her marriage to her beloved husband Avtar Singh Sandhu – a gifted engineer working in America. Both newlyweds came from equally affluent families that nurtured a well-rounded and refined upbringing with adequate exposure to culture and commerce alike. Roop and Avtar travelled the globe and soon nested in the decadent rolling hills of Sonoma County, California in a vineyard they fondly christened ‘Muchal’ (the name of the ancestral village to which Avtar’s family traced its lineage).
For Roop, each new canvas propped on an easel presented a new beginning: a symphony of colour and form echoing the myriad forms of nature traced from her memory as well as vistas she so fondly (and clearly) remembers to this very day.
At the age of 83, Roop now resides in what can be best described as a living museum – with a collection that is appreciated by many critics and art aficionados. As glamourous the collection may be, Roop’s gaze most affectionately settles upon her own works and the photographs of her family that grace the walls.
As she binds us in her spell of stories from a forgotten age, Roop allows herself the occasional indulgent smile and the mischievous sparkle in her eye (some of her most endearing qualities) leaving us wanting to know more… and hoping that we too might live our lives as well as she has.


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