For me, art is a continuous circle that is constantly changing and taking different shapes. Changes are influenced by my emotions, surroundings, and experiences of life. It is hard to separate art from my life. I was born in Rajasthan, India, a state of princes and palaces, but my memories from childhood are of the simple memories of village life. I spent time with my grandmother, mother, and relatives learning how to decorate the floor of our house with chalk powder or rice flour, decorating our hands and feet with henna and our clothes with embroidery. In school and college I paid more attention to drawing and coloring than to my textbooks. After college, I started oil painting and learning various art forms.
After I moved to Minnesota, I went to North Hennepin Community College and studied photography and graphic design, expanding my knowledge and capabilities. It was here that I started to develop my personal style, and integrate elements of my Indian heritage with modern methods and mediums. Based on my ethnic background - colors, stylized designs, and storytelling is evident in my work.
In 1995-96 I was able to open and run my own gallery, Shakuntala Gallery, on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, though it left me less time to create and share my art. With steady involvement in community functions & festivals, as well as with various programs through Intermedia Arts and COMPAS, I found a love for teaching and demonstrating art to people. I especially enjoy helping people become comfortable with their own feelings and incorporating them into their art; there is a special magic that happens when people can communicate and express themselves through their creations. I love to share my experiences and knowledge with learners of all abilities, ages, and backgrounds.
I have participated in many art shows and art competitions and won numerous awards over the years in both painting and photography. I have shown my work in various galleries and participated in art shows throughout the Midwest, California, and India.
One of my current projects, a coloring book with my artwork & South Asian symbolism, is possible through the MN State Arts Board.
Shakuntala Maheshwari is a fiscal year 2022 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.