Published: 06th March 2021
Women's Day: This Hyderabad woman quit her corporate job in her late 40s to study art
Lakshmi Jagannath is an artist. Not just a hobby artist, she is on her way to becoming a professional artist. She is now pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Lalit Kalakshetra, Coimbatore
If climbing the corporate ladder is all that one has done after college, slowly and steadily rising up the ranks, what leads them to abandon that career and start on a different vocation from scratch? The answer is different for different people but for Lakshmi Jagannath, it was just the call to art that she happened to hear late in life. To that effect, after jumping into a job as an Executive Assistant at ICICI Limited (before the bank) in 1996 right after completing her Bachelor's in Commerce from Osmania University, she quit her job in 2006, a full decade. In between, she even managed to finish a Graduate Management Training Programme, think of it as an in-house MBA, so that she could shift gears to the management level. But now, the 48-year-old is pursuing a solid Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Lalit Kalakshetra, Raviraj Institute for Art and Culture, Coimbatore and is currently in her last semester.
She took up a BFA as that leaves scope to pursue an MFA or even a PhD, if she wishes too
"After I quit, I tried many things, including yoga and tailoring, because I had the liberty to as I had attained financial independence. So all I wanted to do was follow my heart," says the Hyderabadi. She adds, "When I found my calling in art, I was sure that I did not want to be a hobby artist. I wanted to be a professional one. Which is why I decided to go back to college." Now the classes are online but she would otherwise travel to Coimbatore ten times a year for exams, practicals, site visits, study tours and the rest of the time she is in Hyderabad, she would dedicate to assignments. She continues to participate in group exhibitions at State Gallery of Art in Hyderabad and Venkatappa Art Gallery in Bengaluru. In the next six months, you can expect a solo exhibition from her, she assures.
One of her art work | (Pic: Lakshmi Jagannath)
While Lakshmi primarily focuses on watercolours, she ensures that she pushes herself out of her comfort zone every now and then. And when it comes to the themes of her artwork, she says, "I like to create art with a certain concept, like women empowerment." And of course, she is up for commissioned work as well.
Her abstract art | (Pic: Lakshmi Jagannath)
Getting back to classes wasn't tough at all for this Hyderabadi. Whatever awkwardness that did prevail was quickly dispensed by the first semester itself. She credits this to her corporate job that has helped her interact with many people throughout her career. But there is no doubt that shuttling between Coimbatore and Hyderabad has been tiring. "It was emotionally and physically draining. But soon I understood that there are some days when I will have to order in because I don't have the time to put together a meal and that's fine! I know that this is a temporary situation and once I am on my own as an artist, I will be able to manage my time effortlessly," she shares.
She even coaches children to apply to art-related courses, nationally and internationally as well
"What's important for a woman is to be independent and capable. Equip yourself with the relevant skills. If you get a chance to use them, good. Otherwise, you can just continue enjoying your life," says Lakshmi and adds, "I also feel that having another vocation to fall back upon is always helpful."