Dairy Arts Center

Shakti: The Source of Strength

Shakti: The Source of Strength

Bala Thiagarajan

May 10th – July 14th, 2024

Shakti: The Source of Strength is a series of portrait paintings by artist Bala Thiagarajan, that captures the essence of Indian women as sources of strength beautifully embodying the concept of Shakti. Shakti, in Hindu philosophy, is the divine feminine energy that symbolizes empowerment, creativity, and strength. It is believed to be the dynamic force that sustains the universe. These paintings depict contemporary Indian women with resilience, grace, and inner power, drawing upon their cultural heritage and individual stories to highlight their strength in various facets of life.

The use of Madhubani and Kalighat styles in the background and thick lines adds depth and richness to the compositions, paying homage to the traditional folk art of India. This fusion of artistic techniques, coupled with the artists’ unique method of piping acrylic paint to create textured layers, lends a dynamic and captivating quality to the artwork. 

Through these portraits, the essence of Shakti is palpable, emanating from the confident gaze and poised demeanor of each woman depicted. Their strength is not just a personal attribute but a reflection of the collective power of Indian women, rooted in rich cultural heritage and nurtured by the feminine energy that flows through us all.

As viewers immerse themselves in the series, they are invited to celebrate the indomitable spirit of Indian women and the unwavering support provided by our loved ones. These paintings serve as a powerful reminder of the resilience and strength that reside within us, echoing the timeless wisdom of Shakti and inspiring admiration for the enduring spirit of Indian womanhood.

Ceramic masks crafted in the Cheriyal masks style complement the portraits, each meticulously showcasing one of the nine emotions, known as Navarasas in classical Indian Dance. These masks, with their intricate details and vibrant colors, encapsulate the myriad expressions of human sentiment, from love and joy to anger and sorrow. Together, these artworks create a multi-dimensional narrative, celebrating the indomitable spirit of South Indian women and the rich tapestry of human emotion.

Public Programming


About the Artist

Bala Thiagarajan, an immigrant Indian painter and ceramic artist based in Arvada, CO, brings a unique blend of academic inquiry and artistic exploration to her creative endeavors, holding a Ph.D. in Biology. Her distinctive style intertwines the textures and patterns of free-hand henna with contemporary acrylics on canvas. Drawing inspiration from her cultural heritage to integrate traditional Indian motifs, science, and geometry, she portrays everyday art forms with a new perspective. Through her latest portrait series, Shakti: The Source of Strength, she celebrates South Indian women, offering a poignant portrayal of their resilience.

Navigating the challenges of being visually impaired, Bala incorporates textures into both her paintings and ceramics, providing both visual and tactile experiences that resonate with diverse audiences. Her prolific presence at juried art fairs and art centers, with over 900 original artworks, including commissioned pieces, in collections worldwide, coupled with numerous awards for her exceptional paintings, her impact in the art world is significant. Amplifying the voice of Indian-inspired arts through her work, she seeks to bridge the gap between science and art, tradition and innovation, inviting audiences to explore the complex intersections of identity, culture, and human experience.

Beyond her studio practice, Bala actively contributes to the growth and development of the art community, participating in the 2024 Leadership Arts cohort through the CBCA and engaging with various local art associations. She sees her role as an artist not only as a cultural ambassador but also as an advocate for increased representation of BIPOC artists.

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MARCH 2020

As of today, 3/12/2020, The Dairy Arts Center remains open and operational. Should scheduling changes occur, ticket holders will be directly notified by The Dairy Arts Center.

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