Karen Ahuja – Featured Artist
Artist Portfolio Magazine’s 20 Art Competition
I believe that we are all creative beings. We are born with the ability to build, communicate and impact our world. I interpret the world around me in a visual medium because it allows me to create a narrative and translate my understanding of my environment and experiences in a way that connects others to my world.
I primarily paint with acrylics and mixed media because water is such an important ingredient in the painting formula. Water is a powerful agent for change when it is allowed to move the paint, dilute the intensity, and mix new unique colors. Painting with acrylics allows me to layer quickly building the narrative of my piece.
I have found excitement in playing in the area between the abstract and impressionistic styles. This allows me to pull things in and out of focus in my paintings. I don’t choose a certain type of subject matter. Instead, my subject matter is chosen by the story I am trying to tell. I want the viewer to connect or empathize with the struggles and know that they are not alone in their own life challenges.
My most recent project is called Welcome Pineapple. The purpose of the Welcome Pineapple Project is to raise awareness of the challenges of international adoption. Welcome Pineapple is a visual and written narrative to a complex social, economic and spiritual topic by providing a safe environment to discuss difficult post adoption issues of raising a child from another country.
Painting pineapples has been a healing process for me. I have been able to process the personal challenges of raising a child born in another country. Some of the pineapples are dark and edgy, while others share a spirit of joy and hope. One pineapple may symbolize the fight to stay hospitable and hopeful. Another pineapple symbolizes the face of a “perfect family”. Many of the pineapples start out with a dark black, blue or brown layer of paint. As I layer up, I begin to process my feelings and add colors, textures and elements to communicate a sense of personal healing.
As I paint the pineapples, I hear a voice guiding me to share my experiences. The process of painting is therapeutic for me and sharing my story can help others find help, hope and healing in their own personal struggles.