Nalini Mehta, 95 – She Came Back India After Independence For The Love Of Art

Mad4India By Adityobarna Mukherjee | 2 min read

Nalini Mehta

This story of Nalini Mehta, a 95-year-old granny is of Indian story and that’s the fact we take pride in. Nalini Mehta can still be addressed as young despite her age and the kind of work she has been doing at such an age. She has been excelling in this unique art of acrylic painting for the last 70 years.

We the people at Mad4India are immensely proud of this lady creating wonders with her impeccable and extraordinary skills in acrylic art.

Nalini Mehta – An inspiration and a born-artist

Nalini Mehta Studio
Source – Nalini Mehta Studio

Nalini Mehta, a 95-year-old artist resides in Mumbai with her son Anuj Mehta and creates different and beautiful floral carvings out of acrylic. On asking, at an interview, Anuj Mehta said that his mother is nothing less than a born artist. She has mastered excellence in most of the applied arts such as batik, painting, and sculpture. She learned this art of acrylic carving when she was in the USA in the year 1946 with the help of a friend named Mr. Zobac.

Her husband, Vinay Mehta encouraged her to continue with this beautiful form of art and that’s the reason she moved ahead with it after returning to India. But she had to stop doing what she loved when her husband died in 1970 as she had to look after their factory. But with her children’s support and encouragement, she started working on her passion in the year 1982 and devoted time to her art again.

As said by her son, Ms. Nalini Mehta does not have any formal art training but that never stopped him from trying out different forms of art. Her dedication, patience, and love for art have made her come a long way. Ms. Nalini Mehta has an M.A. degree in Economics. She had shifted to the US with her husband in 1945 and that seems to be her turning point in life. She enrolled at the Pratt Institute of Commercial Art in New York for a workshop that allowed her to develop and practice her skill. Being a part of the workshop helped to work on her skills and explore different forms of art.

Creating wonders with her acrylic art

While she was searching for innovative materials to use, she came across the acrylic. Acrylic plastic that is also known as transparent plastic was used during the times of World War II for making aircraft windshields. There was an abundance of leftover acrylic after the war ended. Out of inquisition she brought that material home and tried her hands on it. This form of art uses acrylic sheets as a canvas and a drill as a paintbrush. It is as unique as intricate it is.

This new form of art excited her and the first carve she made was of three roses. When she wanted to add colors to it she made use of eye droppers. Her husband’s encouragement made her continue with her art. The day India attained Independence, Ms. Nalini had the distinction to unfurl the Indian flag at Washington DC to commemorate the same.

Bringing her talent to India and continuing with her art

When she returned to India, she bought the materials she needed for her here to continue with her work. As acrylic was available as scrap in India, her husband used to go collect the materials she needed every once in a while. Ms. Nalini Mehta said that this is a labor-intensive task and requires a huge amount of dedication and patience. Her son said that she needs to watch things like CID and Crime Patrol to keep her mind engaged. Other than art, she also loves reading Agatha Christie and Perry Mason novels.

Her success story

Ms. Nalini’s first exhibition was held at Jehangir Art Gallery in 1966. And ever since then her work has been displayed at several places. Over the last 70 years, she has made more than 500 acrylic carvings. Out of these 100 pieces are within the family and the remaining have made their place at homes worldwide. In the year 2013, she received a national award from our former President Mr. Pranab Mukherjee.

To know more about Nalini Mehta, please check – Website

If you loved reading about Nalini Mehta, Know about Jasper Paul – An inspiring story of a 19 year old guy from Hyderabad who rescues old people from roads via his NGO, The Second Chance

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