Published: 31st January 2020
Art was my saviour: How this Andhra University grad found her psychadelic art calling
Coming to Hyderabad for work was when she met many poets, especially through the Hyderabad Poetry Project, and inspired by their work, she would draw even more
Brought up in a Visakhapatnam-based conservative home, Tabitha Percy and her artistic expression hardly saw encouragement. But even then, she knew that the typical mountain-river-sun scenery and village life paintings that won school competitions were not really what art was all about. After going through the horrific experience of being sexually abused as a child, her angst only grew and she took up Architecture just so that she could draw at last. "Art was my saviour. It's the way I used to make sense of all that was happening around me," says Percy.
It was when she was studying at Andhra University that she had her breakthrough. The first chance she had to exhibit her put her art out there was by illustrating for a faculty member from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indira Babbellapati's book Just For Once. "And I went to town with it," she says and laughs. Today, the same 25-year-old works at Spatial Concepts - Architecture + Interiors in Hyderabad and in September 2020, she will be attending the Paris College of Arts, France, to pursue a Master's in Arts.
Tabitha Percy | (Pic: Tabitha Percy)
Percy started talking openly about the abuse she suffered only when she was 15 and it was when she was 18 that she was exposed to ideas like feminism and she started observing the society, politics, culture and movies through the new lens she acquired. "I realised all art is political," she says. And she certainly doesn't hold back from expressing her views, political or otherwise, through her art. From the elections to Hyderabad's Million March against CAA and even lighter topics like a ride in the metro, self-care and so on — she has covered it all and it's on display on her Instagram page @i.am.not.an.artist_. Her inspiration for this comes from her own observations of all that is unfolding around her. Even the master's course she is going to pursue focuses on design for social impact.
When she was eight years old, she had access to an illustrated Bible whose aesthetics she is inspired by till date
The artist has even started conducting workshops where she teaches participants how to illustrate and has many interesting activities up her sleeve, including asking participants to draw a human personality without the human figure and playing a non-descriptive song and asking participants to draw it. "My art was about a lot of self-pity before but now, I think it has developed more. And in some ways, I would never like it to change," says the artist. Now, that's what happens when you take your broken heart and turn it into art.
Some of her work
For more on her, check out instagram.com/i.am.not.an.artist_