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Journey of artist Sonjaye Maurya

‘One more tea.’ He waved at the waiter.

The young waiter brought a cup of tea and placed on the table before him. He gazed at the translucent brownish liquid in abstraction.

The pressing hand on his shoulder broke his reverie. “I have a surprise for you. We must celebrate this evening.” Said his friend slumping on a chair across the table.

He was happy to see his friend. They often met at this café after the day’s grind for the hunt of destiny.

He smiled in mischief. ‘I too have a surprise to give. But you go first.’

His friend gazed at him for a long moment for the effect of suspense, ‘The promotional content you created for our company has been a grand hit. They want to sign an annual contract for their entire product range! I had a talk with someone from the advertising section during lunch and came to know.”

‘They liked my work, is it?’ He said with an ironic smile.

‘Yes! Do you realize? You are going to get a huge contract; and a name in the field of industrial advertising.’

He nodded but said nothing. He sipped the lemon tea and sat in silence.

‘What is the matter?’ His friend looked at him with concern.

He shrugged. ‘Nothing serious. By the way, how much will they pay for the assignment?’

‘I do not know, but a good sum, better than the last payout.’ Said his friend.

Suddenly, he seemed to wake up with a broad smile. ‘I shall not do it.’

‘What? Are you in senses? What are you talking?’

He nodded firmly. ‘Yes, I am. I shall not capture photos of those damned machines anymore. All that cut and paste in computer and then thinking up phony phrases for machines looking like dumbos. No. Enough! No more.’

‘What will you do then?’

‘I shall paint.’ He said plainly.

‘Paint what? Buildings, walls, roofs?’

He shook his head slowly, ‘No. Canvas.’

‘You mean you will become an artist?’ His friend almost spilled his tea over the table.

He nodded again. ‘I am going to paint. I shall be an artist. I must respond to my true calling.’ He uttered firmly.

‘And when did you hear this cosmic call?’ His friend now teased.

‘Time does not have to testify true calls. One must respond to it, as soon as it rings.’

Well, that is how one fine evening, Sonjaye Maurya forsook his thriving career of Industrial advertising for the sake of the canvas. Well, it was not true that he never painted before. Painting was his love since childhood. In fact, he graduated from Sir J. J. Institute of Applied Art in Commercial Art and Photography. But eventually, he spent considerable number of years in Industrial advertising until he responded to his true calling.

It was not easy. Fortunately, he found his wife and son beside him when he decided to pick up the brush. Their unstinted support fueled his journey as an artist. How to keep the kitchen running did not fetter his passion.

A journey begins but with a single step. True. But the million steps on the way are no easy either. Sonjaye approached dozens of people with influence in the world of art as he took up painting. But the response was cold, often none at all. But greater was the disappointment, stronger grew his resolve. He decided to carve his own path, if destiny did not offer him one.

And he did that.

Today, he is a respected name in the world of art. Countless accolades came on his way.

His works have a mysterious quality, a magical touch that makes them stand apart from the works of other contemporary artists. Each of his paintings carry a message; may it be Buddha or a landscape.

Perception of human feelings in different realms of life often rules his themes. His vibrant palette of color splashes over the fabric of fantasies and dreams. He says that a painting is a dream that you see on an empty canvas.

He does not restrict himself to any medium. Seamlessly walking through acrylic, pencil, charcoal or water on paper, he feels that a painting decides which medium it wants. Hence, in his view, sticking to a medium is unfair for a painting.

‘Style is slavery! Technique is prison,’ Says Sonjaye Maurya, ‘And art is freedom.’

His paintings explore the nuances of existence and bring forth the spark of joy, sorrow, passion and other realities of life in a manner that provokes the viewer to think.

Sonjaye did alter his profession from being an Industrial photographer to an artist. He found glory and plenty of recognition on the way. But the memory of the struggle of his early days never faded into oblivion. He knows what it means to be a newcomer in the field of art. The ruthlessly unfair treatments kill most spirits right in the beginning. That prompted him to take up another mission in life.

He founded ‘Sonjaye Maurya Art World’ and ‘Creative Art Affairs’; initiatives to appreciate and promote young and upcoming artists. The groups are imbued with Futuristic vision and trend setting goals. His goal is to build a platform for the young talents to display their works for a critical audience.

He quotes from ‘Lust for Life’, the book on Van Gogh’s life. ‘The artist who cannot survive the grind of fate, is not worth saving.’ And then he looks away in abstraction before muttering, ‘This does not mean, we have to join hands with fate and make their lives more difficult.’

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Ranjana Kashyap
Ranjana Kashyap
Jan 16, 2022

Story of a legend 🙏

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