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The Artist

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The Artist

Kalpana Amin was born and raised in Kenya, East Africa. A creative soul, she was inclined towards art since childhood. She dreamt of being an artist and devoting her life to “making spaces, people, and things look better.” Growing up, she dabbled in needlework, photography, and painting. Kalpana studied art at Cambridge and trained as a beautician on the side. She settled in India upon her marriage.

Always a trendsetter, in 1978, she launched Saundarya Beauty Salon, the first ever in Kheda district. Saundarya broke new ground in women’s grooming and quickly emerged as the leading name on every woman’s lips. For the next ten years, Kalpana blazed a trail — training hundreds of eager women who in turn opened their own shops, educating women on healthcare and grooming through seminars, and acquiring an enviable client roster — before selling her salon at its peak to spend more time with her two daughters.

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As Kalpana nurtured her family, she found the perfect next step from grooming women in sprucing their style quotient. She established an equally successful fashion boutique conducting several shows in the US, UK and East Africa. While on her apparel-design stint, she took to sculpting as a hobby. Though Kalpana had previously worked with a wide variety of mediums, she fell in love with clay. She adored the idea of working with earth — nature’s only element that brings life to full-circle. She found her forte in its flexibility, humility, simplicity, and above all it its history. Some of the most important landmarks of man’s journey through civilization have been recorded through earthen remnants, whether it is ancient Greek urns, Harappan seals, or Chinese porcelain.

The wild African images of her childhood took form in tribal busts and masks. This was a long overdue breath of fresh air for the Indian palate that had overdosed on traditional motifs. Pleased with positive feedback, she brought to life memoirs from her world travels. However far she pushed the envelope, Kalpana knew that traditional designs would be crucial in spreading her art to the common man. So she extended her oeuvre with those motifs and forms that were traditionally Indian, but had yet to be rendered in clay.

A few exhibitions later, with the unflinching support of her husband, she opened doors to FloArt in 1995 as a gallery and studio for her work, whose underlying mission was to serve as a center for the advancement of underprivileged artisans.

In the past decade Kalpana has done wonders for clay artwork and the artisans associated with it. She has given clay forms and textures that it had yet to experience. She promoted terracotta art all over the country and in international markets via over 20 exhibitions. In 1998, the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GGCI) presented Kalpana with an award for “Outstanding business performance by a woman entrepreneur” for her contribution to the development and innovation of traditional terracotta art. She has created a livelihood for several families of potters and artisans who flourished with increased appreciation from clients and continues to search for new talent in indigenous art and crafts. Kalpana’s work has been featured in leading national and international media. Doordarshan, India’s state-run network, made a documentary on her contribution to this field.

When she’s not beautifying spaces, Kalpana likes to spend time nurturing her home and being with family. She passionately gives back to the community by devoting time and energy to Lions Club, Rotary Club, Charutar Education Board, and local universities.

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