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Vidisha Pandey is a name familiar to and respected by the UAE art circuit. She carved this niche for herself in just a few years. Landing in Dubai eight years ago from Prayagraj (erstwhile Allahabad), Uttar Pradesh, she had arrived here after living for a decade in Mumbai. Like every artist, she too fell in love with the art scene of Dubai. Trained in Mithila art, Vidisha has a passion for Indian folk art. Her affinity for art can be sensed from the fact that while in conversation, she takes you visually through each State of India and its offerings.
Her knowledge of different varieties of Indian folk art is indeed commendable. Vidisha feels India has many forms of art, though not many people know about this. Almost every Indian State (there are 28)  has its own art form. Therefore, as an artist, she wants wider audience to know and appreciate all these art genres. This is what drives her forward.
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Born and brought up in Prayagraj, she has a diploma in Applied & Fine Art from Allahabad University. Today her name is synonymous with Mithila art — an art form which has its origins in Bihar, in the eastern part of India.  Vidisha has been educating, exhibiting and teaching UAE audiences about Mithila art and other Indian folk arts through exhibitions and workshops.  She has received numerous awards and much appreciation for her work.
If you glance at her social media posts, you can see her body of work and the praise she has received for her untiring efforts. A very busy artist, Vidisha has put her brush on hold for some time to talk to Gulf Today on a Sunday evening.  
At present, she is busy in organising her next Indian Folk Art Exhibition titled “SHAKTI,” (Strength) which will unite more three dozen artists under its banner. It will take place at Dubai International Art Center, Jumeirah, from Nov.5 to Nov.19.
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Vidisha poses with her artwork in World Art Dubai.


Talking about her forthcoming exhibition, Vidisha said tht “SHAKTI is not at all about women empowerment. It is about your own inspiration. As we all know, everybody is blessed to have a unique power through which they draw inspiration. Therefore, SHAKTI provides them a platform to exhibit their uniqueness through their artworks.”
More than three dozen professional and amateur artists are expected to participate in this event. A few young artists have also been included to be a part of the event.
Vidisha added that “there are many States in India and within a State, there are so many different art forms. In Bihar itself, we have various art forms such as Mithila art, Tikuli art and Manjusha art. But people only know about Mithila art because it is very popular. Even Rajasthan State has four to five art forms. And if you go to South India, every State has its own art form. People don’t know much about Indian art forms. Therefore, I have decided to bring out all those art forms onto the surface. The world should know about it.”
She noted that though she has been living in Dubai for more than seven or eight years, she did not find anything much noticeable about Indian folk art. “Not many people know about it,” she said. “What we see is just a corner in any exhibition hall for Indian folk art and that’s it. Visitors or other artists do come, take a picture and forget about it. I want those art forms to come out from the corner to the centre.
“Therefore, I am trying to create a space for Indian folk arts.  For SHAKTI, we have purposely opted on a different location, where we might be able to showcase our artworks to non-Indians also. With this exhibition, we are also looking for buyers, who can buy our paintings. We want our artworks to reach drawing rooms.”
A master of Mithila art herself, Vidisha has learnt many other Indian arts also. She has participated in the recently concluded World Art Dubai and received lots of appreciation from various renowned artists. Talking about her experience she said: “It was amazing to be there after Covid-19 pandemic. I got to meet lots of artists from different part of the world. It was a completely different experience.”
She also has organised and curated the Indian Folk Art exhibition, PANKHUDI on June 25, 2022, under the patronage of Indian Consulate, Dubai, at the auditorium of the Consulate.  It was graced by Tadu Mamu, Consul Culture, Press, Information & Labour, octogenarian celebrated Indian artists A P Laitu, Ahmed Al Awadhi ‘Rukni’, and famous art critic Peter Gressman. Many reputed artists participated in this event and showcased more than 26 forms of Indian art.
Vidisha also participated in the “The Art & Craft Exhibition Series,” held as part of “India @75 — Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” conducted by the Consulate General of India. A total of nine artists were short-listed from over 650 entries, and she was one of the artists who got to showcase her paintings on the platform. She considers the event as one of her career highlights.
Like everyone, the art community also had to switch on to the online mode during the Covid-19 pandemic. When asked to share her experience of that time, she said: “We did lots of activities online. Had innumerable workshops. We also learnt how to keep ourselves engaged and mentally active, though sitting at home. We got lots of ideas during that period and now we all are executing those ideas.”
 
The sale presents a unique opportunity for new and seasoned collectors to acquire works by the beloved artist, with stellar provenance.
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It is indeed amazing to see how our poet-public servant manages to wear two different hats simultaneously with equal aplomb

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