When not tending to patients, Priya Ray, a dentist from Kolkata, replaces the scaler, curette and dental drill with a pencil in her hand. Give her a blank canvas and she will present a beautiful sketch in no time. The precision and details in her drawing are incredible and are ought to leave one mesmerised. Her sketches always have the undertone of a poignant social message – from women defying the patriarchal norms to the plight of homeless children.
On the days she is feeling a tad more adventurous, Priya would put her passion and soul into breathtaking landscape paintings.
Her friends admit that time and again their birthdays have been made extra special by Priya who gifted them stunning portraits sketched by her. The word about her talent is well-known in her professional circle.
In the second episode of More Than My Job, The Siyahi Columns had a heart-to-heart conversation with Priya Ray. She opens up about her innate love for art while also pursuing a career in healthcare, much like her own father.
TSC: When did you discover your passion for art?
Priya – Early childhood onwards, I would say. Perhaps I inherited the love for art from my father, who is an accomplished doctor and a brilliant artist on the side. Growing up, I was fascinated by his paintings. I remember the time when I visited our ancestral home and found my father’s murals across the archways and walls of his childhood home.
TSC – How long have you been pursuing art?
Priya – Since I was a child. My first lesson was from my father, of course. I found my calling in the blank canvas, the pencils and paintbrushes. Seeing my interest in art, my parents enrolled me in a local art school.
TSC – Do you have any professional training in art?
Priya – I secured my fundamental training at the art school and I would always be obliged to my teachers for that.
However, as I grew older, the academic pressure increased, to the point when I could not devote much time to drawing and painting. I was performing well in my studies and wanted to keep my focus on that for the time being. So I had to drop out of art school, but I definitely could not let go of art altogether. I continued practising it in whatever little free time I got.
TSC – Share some of your good memories of painting. May be any award or recognition you have received.
Priya – Oh there are so many good memories, I cannot pinpoint only one. Painting or sketching in itself gives me immense pleasure, even a kind of relief I would day.
Most awards I earned would be from normal local art competitions, which are not such mention-worthy, I feel. Honestly speaking, I have never had the opportunity nor time to devote to art full-time to be recognised solely as an artist.
TSC- Being a dentist is a busy profession, how do you manage to find time for your art?
Priya – I do some small sketches or paintings whenever and wherever I get the chance. I got some extra time in my hands unexpectedly due to the lockdown and tried to dedicate some more hours for painting or sketching.
I am deeply inspired by the works of many modern-day artists on Instagram or Facebook who are acing the domain of portrait art. I am constantly trying to improve my skills since I did not complete my professional training.
TSC- If given a chance, would you like to pursue a career in art, perhaps something part-time alongside your clinical practice?
Priya – I would absolutely love to. I want to devote more time to it so that I can keep on getting better with time. Art fills me with an emotion beyond words can describe, which nothing else can ever offer.
More Than My Job will return next Friday with the story of a software engineer who dominates the stage after work as a stand-up comic.