B Prabha, Painter - Singing was my passion.

Trained at the J.J School in Bombay, her paintings cover a wide range of subjects, from landscapes to social issues like droughts, hunger and homelessness. B. Prabha held about 50 exhibitions since 1956, both in India and abroad. She was also the recipient of several prestigious awards.

I dreamt of being a singer. I had a good voice. I was also good at painting. My elder brother cautioned me that I couldn’t master two subjects in one lifetime. So I had to choose between painting and singing after my matriculation. And that was very difficult indeed. After a lot of introspection, I decided to opt for painting. I thought, main apne hatho se paint karungi aur kano se gana sunugi. There were not too many women painters in India at that time. There was only Amrita Shergill.

So I set out to create another Amrita. I respected her a lot. I also wanted my paintings to reach all parts of the world. It was my ambition to be a renowned painter based in Paris.
I first studied art at Nagpur School of Art. Then I wanted to test my ability as a painter. So I came to Mumbai and enrolled at the J.J School of Art where I got a scholarship to specialise in mural painting. The atmosphere at J.J those days was like a big family. We used to help each other. The dean bought panels especially from Khadakvasla for us to make mural paintings. That helped us to make huge murals.

I put up my first show as a student, much before I got married. I exhibited 100 paintings. My first customer was the great scientist Homi Baba. He bought three paintings.

The central theme of my paintings is always woman and their sufferings. I have seen many women and even studied them closely. And I have yet to see one happy woman. Women can create beauty. Here I am not just talking about the urban woman but even the women in our rural areas are extremely creative. Women crave for happiness and appreciation all their lives. Moreover, they have so many emotions to portray.