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Delna Dastur

Bachelor of Arts –  University of Mumbai
Bachelor of Arts – Art History, Wellesley College, Massachusetts
Masters of Fine Arts – Studio Art, American University
Virginia Center for the Creative Arts – Fellow
Faculty – Smithsonian Associates
Delna has exhibited her work internationally and has work included in international collections.


Over the years as I developed as an artist, I came to the realization that the process of making a piece of art intrigues me as much as its subject matter. I am never satisfied with using one medium exclusively and always attempt to combine several.

I like the work to be complex, to be multi-layered. I usually begin by carefully choosing a paint color, keeping it liquid enough to be poured and manipulated over the surface of the canvas. This is followed by stamping. I use wooden textile blocks from India in combination with rubber stamps. Next comes the building up of textures. I rake through gels, pastes and clear gessoes using hardware implements and create patterns with templates.

Random strong lines drawn emphatically at the start of a piece guide the direction the drawing will take, and I permit myself to follow their lead, readily yielding any preconceived notion I may have had. I allow the subject matter to navigate itself, to rise from the medley of emerging shapes. As the images reveal themselves I layer them one upon the other, paying great attention to minute detail and the creation of transparencies, guiding the organic growth of the painting with great care. I want there to be a sense of elusiveness, of the possibility of different ways of interpretation. Intuition is my favorite tool and I embrace it mightily.

In the class that I teach, Abstract Art – New and Creative Approaches, I begin by introducing the students to a different contemporary artist each week in order to investigate various ways abstract art can be created. Since I am interested in process and the creation of multi-layered work, we cover a range of materials and techniques. We explore the many ways charcoal, pastel, ink and paint can be manipulated. I also emphasize the importance of creating transparencies, interesting marks and distinctive compositions. Demonstrations help clarify the technique to be learnt each week.

I’m always expanding on the class, experimenting in my studio with various materials that I can then introduce to the students.


Delna Dastur
Delna Dastur
Classes taught by
Delna Dastur
Delna Dastur
on the Creativity in Action blog