While botanical art is a more popular art form in Europe, in countries like India and Nepal it is rarely appreciated. Pradhan, a botanical illustrator from Kalimpong, however, has always been enthralled by plants. Growing up in family that was deeply involved in horticulture, she has always been inspired to create art that explored the plant world.
Her exhibition, which is to be showcased at Siddhartha art gallery from 12 December till 1 January, consists of 31 paintings. The majority of the work depicts orchids, which is her specialty. "The mystery and beauty of orchids have always captivated me," she says. The exhibition also features rhododendrons.
Hemlata, who has a diploma in Botanical illustration, says, "The exhibition is my way of exploring the beauty of our flora heritage so that people are inspired to conserve them and their habitat. " With fast paced development threatening the habitat of so much of the world's flora, her ambition is to raise awareness about conserving the Indo-Himalayan orchids and other plants.
The pieces to be displayed and most of Hemlata's illustration blend art and science as she draws only precise, life-size paintings of every specimen. Her work has been featured in many botanical books and she is currently in the process of opening her own school in Kalimpong?Himalayan Institute of Natural History.
Sangeeta Thapa of Siddhartha Art gallery says, "This exquisite collection is a documentation of the botanical life that most ignore. This collection is sure to make people realise how harmful encroachment of habitat is to their rare beauty."