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Lavanya Bahuguna


Dig Out The Tales Hidden Behind The Adorable ‘Tail’ Portraits By Gumi Malhotra

  • JWB Post
  •  December 28, 2016


Talking about animals is one thing JWB loves the most!

Considering the unconditional love that some people have for animals, we have decided to bring stories that will inspire you to be friends with the four-legged.

One such woman is from Bangalore who is using her paint skills for the welfare of stray dogs in her city. Her expertise in making portraits is drawing the attention of many pet parents asking her to make one for their feline/canine babies. The money collected from this commissioned work goes to a city-based animal rescue center, .

Gumi has always been close to animals and is quite vocal when it comes to animal adoption. The conversation we had with her was to explore how she uses her professional capacity for stray dogs’ wellbeing.

I guess you are a parent of a rescued dog yourself.

Actually, two. One is a female Labrador while the other, a roadside Romeo. They make our home a beautiful place.

They are the most adorable thing to happen, right?

I second you. Whatever the people and books have failed to instill in me, they have taught me. One is to be compassionate and full of joy towards everyone you meet.

Your Fb timeline is full of adoption alerts, how do you manage to stay this active?

Thanks to the social media, I keep getting updates and have been able to remain in contact with other animal activists. Once you go into this circle, it is easy to meet similar-minded people.

How did you come up with the idea of drawing animal portraits?

I am a Painter by profession, and I think, this was the best decision I have taken so far – to gel my passion with something I absolutely love. When I met Sudha Narayanan of CARE, we talked about hosting an exhibition wherein I, along with a fellow artist, would showcase portraits of CARE’s shelter dogs that were up for adoption. We managed to sell every painting and received a grand response from people who helped us collect funds for pooches in distress.

Amazing! It’s inspiring to see you take this initiative forward. 

Whatever I will earn will go to the animal rescue centers. All you have to do is send me your pet’s close-up and I will make sure his/her compassionate glance stays with you forever. By the way, eyes are the first thing that I begin working on because then the animal becomes a person for me with a soul and a definite character. You know what I mean!?

Certainly. So, do you take orders from all over India?

I will be more than happy to receive any!

Your work page on FB is filled with countless appreciation posts. What has been the best compliment so far?

Sudha’s eyes watered when she first visited the art gallery where we’d put up the portraits of canines from her shelter. Those tears conveyed her happiness to me in the most silent yet powerful way.  

What else are you fond of painting?

Nature. I mostly do flowers and landscapes; however, and over the time, I have found a great connection with the animal world. In the past, I have done Tiger-Trails, an exhibition showcasing the majestic Indian tigers.

What are your future plans?

Oh, you mean, now? Well, I will enjoy a mug of beer and probably, listen to some music.

I love it how you never got your hair colored.

I believe aging is a beautiful process and every human being should consider it as a liberating phase in his/her life. When you start getting those grey strands, it’s time you begin reliving your life (in case you aren’t).

What, according to you, women should not delay? If I go by one of your FB posts, you are currently slowing working out.

*laughs* I was just being lazy that day. On a serious note, I want women to not delay living for themselves. Stop carrying the baggage of what people around you expect from you which, many a time, delays your happiness. Learn how to draw the line. I, for one, have stopped looking for appreciation outside. I am working towards loving myself more than ever.

(Pictures are Gumi’s own)

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