We chat with the marvelously talented Meena Chopra to learn more about here latest body of work, SHE! The Restless Streak, along with her influences, accomplishments and the importance of arts in Mississauga.
1. Where did the inspiration come from for "SHE! The Restless Streak"?
You know Jay, “SHE”, the life force, the moving fearless female abstract energy, unknowingly has always been a predominant part of both my art forms depicting genesis, whether it is in abstract forms, figurative forms or in the forms of verse. It is the spell binding forever moving force of the nature that inspires me immensely.
Whenever I see the sun dipping down into the glory of the golden skyline on the Canadian landscape with its changing colours, I get deeply moved and a kind of an unknown force takes over me. The mysterious, magical and enigmatic “SHE! The Restless Streak” - grabs the centre stage of all my imaginations with her splendour and vivacity; synergising every split second of my existence, with all its lights and shadows, joys and pains. In simple words it is the nature within and without.
2. How long have you been writing for?
I practice two genres in art, visual art and poetry. I started writing poetry in early 1990s but I have been practising my visual arts since 1985 which is my first passion. Poetry happened along the line. This is my third collection. Ignited Lines was my first collection and published in 1996, Subah Ka Suraj Ab Mera Nahin Hai (Adieu to the Dawn)in Hindi my native language was the 2nd one published in 2010 and 2nd edition in 2014.
3. How long did it take you to write this book?
It is a full colour coffee table edition. I have been working on this for over 3 years now. This is mostly compilation of my poetry and visual art which I have done after 2014. The book has been authored, conceptualized and designed by me
4. What was your reaction on reading the foreword by Charles Pachter?
OMG was the first reaction. I was immensely delighted, I never expected the kind recognition he gave to my art and poetry. I had tears in my eyes being recognized by some one who is a top artist of the world now. Canada is blessed to have him.
5. You've received several wonderful testimonials - How does that make you feel as a writer?
Any acknowledgement or recognition of your work is always encouraging Jay. You also come to know about the reaction of people to your work
6. What advice do you have for up and coming writers?
Be at it always.
7. How important are the literary arts to Mississauga?
I think all arts are important any where in the world, in any city and any community if that community has to mature. Art gives a “third dimension” to the human personality. Art is what that connects you to your roots and your centre. Mississauga is a young and diverse city with an immense potential. One is delighted to see that lots of work is being done here and a lot more is yet to be done and this is important.
8. What additional support would you like to see for the arts in general in Mississauga?
Big businesses and corporations coming out in full support and patronizing arts without the expectation of immediate and direct benefits. In the sense that it should not be just the sponsorship for merely publicity purposes but patronizing in true sense and believe the long term gains for them will be immense. We can have a full discussion on it sometime later.
9. What inspires your visual arts side?
Every thing around me within and without.
10. Would you do anything differently in your professional journey?
I love to experiment a lot with various mediums. These days digital art excites me very much and I am doing some work on those lines now. A digital piece was exhibited in Museums of Mississauga called “A Death, A Beginning” in 2016. It was a much talked about show curated by the Museum called DEATH BECOMES US . I also had a solo show called Eyes of Time at Heritage Mississauga in 2017.
11. What was the biggest challenge moving from New Delhi to Mississauga?
It was more of an adventure and very exciting one. I loved and enjoyed that phase of my life. Jay I inherently love change. I love the way Canada welcomes and supports the immigrants
12. Of all the awards you've won, which one stands out the most?
Charles Pachter's recognition of my work is most important I think than any awards that I have ever got. The other recognition that is important to me personally was when I was invited by my very own alma mater as the guest of honour to their annual function in 2013 in India and was awarded also but this is personal. Now that you have asked this I would also like to mention that the cover painting of this book has also won the 1st prize from Visual Arts Mississauga in 2017 in the show celebrating 150 years of Canada.
13. What's your next project?
Well I am very much on digital art now and also have started working on my 4th collection which is inspired by my Eye Series that I exhibited in Mississauga in 2017. this will also have my poems as well as my paintings.
Click here for information on her September 22nd book launch and buy the book here.