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Delna Dastur


Delna Dastur received a B.A. in English and French from the University of Bombay, India. She was awarded a full student scholarship to Wellesley College, where she studied art history, and went on to receive another scholarship to The American University, where she completed her Masters of Fine Arts in oil painting.

She has exhibited her work in solo and group shows in both the United States and India, for which she has received several awards. Her work has been featured in a variety of publications on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, including The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Hindu, The Mint, Elan Magazine, and The Art League Calendar, among others. She has been teaching studio art classes since 2002, and is currently working on her upcoming solo show in New Delhi. Her work has been chosen to be exhibited at the Indian Art Fair and the SPAN calendar, a publication of the U.S. Embassy in India. Her website is

Artist Statement

Over the years as I developed as an artist, I came to the realization that the process of making a piece of art intrigues me more than its subject matter. I am never satisfied with using one medium exclusively and always attempt to combine several.

I embraced charcoal as my primary medium for several years, using a variety of improvised tools such as ear syringes, brushes, charcoal powder, and many different types of erasers to manipulate it. I occasionally added ink and pastel to further increase the complexity of the drawings.

Wooden panels became the supports for my paintings for a while and currently I am painting with acrylics as well as drawing with charcoal and pastel on large canvases, transforming their smooth surfaces into fields of texture by applying any number of pastes, gels and clear gessoes raked through with hardware implements to create peaks and dips.

Random lines drawn emphatically at the start of a piece, guide the direction it will take and I permit myself to follow their lead, readily yielding any preconceived notion I may have had. I allow the subject matter to navigate itself, to rise from the medley of emerging shapes. Intuition is my favorite tool and I embrace it mightily.

Subconsciously I am drawn to the brilliance of the colors I was surrounded by during my childhood in India. As a result my body of work on the one hand consists of black and white drawings and on the other canvases saturated with color.

I endeavor to transport the viewer beyond the obvious lure of color and subject matter, however, and want him to consider the complexities of the work and to feel the intensity of my commitment.