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Madam Joice Sibi – Pursuing the passion in a busy life of diplomat spouse

IIK Staff Reporter; Photo: Gafoor Moodadi Monday, March 8, 2021
Madam Joice Sibi – Pursuing the passion in a busy life of diplomat spouse

A diplomat's life is always a busy and responsible and so is his wife. Being a mother, the family responsibility also increases. The increasing responsibilities often tends someone to leave aside his passion. Here is someone who successfully manage her time while keeping her passion intact.

Madam Joice Sibi, wife of Indian Ambassador to Kuwait His Excellency Sri Sibi George is a great artist capturing the vivid colors of India, its cultural heritage, natural beauty and diversity on canvas…

A diplomat spouse, a proud mother of three and a trained artist, Madam Joice Sibi conducted several art exhibitions in Washington DC, Tehran, Riyadh, Switzerland and New Delhi. She has also conducted several art workshops and sessions.

While Ambassador Sri Sibi George made his presence felt in Kuwaiti within a short span of time, with his active involvement in community welfare and creating a strong Indo-Kuwait relationship, his spouse Madam Joice Sibi is fully supporting her husband in his responsibilities while pursuing her passion.

She served as President of Oriental Ladies Group during her stay in Saudi Arabia. She also served as General Secretary of External Affairs Spouses Association for over three years during her stay in New Delhi.

Till date Joice Sibi has done over a hundred paintings, many are based on India. "My dream project is 'India on Canvas', which includes several series. Mother, Journey, Victim, Serenity, Partition, Freedom, it goes on, Madam Joice Sibi told

In an exclusive chat, she briefs her journey into the world of art and paintings with IIK readers.

IIK: How did you get into this passion?

Joice Sibi: My passion to paint did not just come up on one fine morning. It is something that evolved over several years. I always used to draw and draw pretty well. But it was after marriage that I started focusing more on this. To be frank it was my husband who persuaded to me to explore more. It then became a passion today, with no day in my life going without spending some time with my brush and paint in my little studio.

Once it became a passion there are several factors that help me keep up the passion. I get a call every day from a person from thousands of miles away asking about how my painting is going on. It is my loving mother in her eighties, every morning she calls from Kerala and invariably ask about my paintings. Similarly my children are emotionally very supportive. Of course my husband comes first to the studio each day when he goes to office and returns from office. My personal passion has now become a family passion!

IIK: Did you get any professional training in Arts?

Joice Sibi: Professional training is very important in improving one’s skills. Everyone has talents, and it is for each one of us to develop these talents through training and practice. I remember reading somewhere that Michael Angelo used to say that if you had seen the amount of hard work he put in, one would not have called him lucky. Yes I had attended a few courses in painting, at Montgomery College in Maryland and in various other institutes during my stay in Iran. I attended several workshops during our stay abroad. I also spent several days at various art museums and galleries all across the globe studying the great work of many great artists. The art collection in Smithsonian museums in Washington DC to Art Museums in Philadelphia, New York and Chicago to Louvre Museum in Paris to Zentrum Paul Klee Museum and National Museums in Switzerland to the Vatican and other Museums in Rome have all made lasting impact on me. Visiting galleries and discussing some of those great works with other artists and art critics have become part my life. That has helped me to improve my skills.

IIK: Which all medium you tried and what is your favourite medium?

Joice Sibi: I like Oil painting. In fact most of my paintings are oil. I also work on acrylic and some mix medium. Call me an old fashioned when it comes to my paintings. I love oil paintings. Some of the most loved and lasted paintings in the world that I have come across are oil paintings. But for an artist every painting is an experience and an experiment. I try it all depending on the theme and color combination requirements.

IIK: How many painting had you done?

Joice Sibi: I have done over a hundred paintings. Some of these paintings if taken to galleries can create some controversies which I keep as my secret collection. I painted them due to my convictions but I do not wish to publish these and would like to keep them as my private companions, at least for now.

IIK: Which is your favourite among your paintings?
Joice Sibi: For a mother all children are her favourites. For me all my paintings which I have done so far and which I plan to paint in future are all my children. But if you are asked which of the one that I am emotionally most attached to I would say that the tricolor that I painted sitting under the national flag in front of the Indian Embassy in Washington DC. It took me several hours to paint it. Actually I had to go and sit under the flagpole for a few days to get the right windy position that I wanted. It has an emotional attachment for me. I have seen how the Indian community in the United States through their sheer hard work and commitment emerged as the most liked and vibrant community there. This is something I experienced in each of the countries I travelled. I have seen the same quality of Indian community everywhere including in the Gulf. I am now seeing it in Kuwait. The Indian community here is the most liked community for Kuwaitis. This tricolor painting is a reminder of India’s presence for me in the countries that I lived, particularly in the US where I painted this.

Another painting of tricolor that continues to inspire me is the more than one kilometer flag that I witnessed on the Matterhorn mountain on the Alps in April 2019. Like many Indians in Europe this caught my imagination. For me it was a reflection of the theme ‘Connecting Himalayas with Alps’.

IIK: How do you find a subject for your next painting?
Joice Sibi: Each of my painting have a story to tell. It is either from the civilizational history of my motherland or on the various moments and scenes that influenced me emotionally. My nostalgia for my days in Kerala and in various other countries we lived have become topics of my paintings. Sometimes I discuss these with my husband also, who is an encyclopedia of ideas and imaginations. He is a good constructive critic of the ideas behind my paintings, but lacks any painting skills.

IIK: Have you organised any exhibition?
Joice Sibi: I had a few exhibitions in Delhi, in the US, in Iran and in Switzerland. I did this exhibitions as part of my effort to showcase India’s cultural and civilizations richness abroad. I recall the Jaisalmar Painting exhibition in Iran and Cross Roads painting exhibition that I participated in Delhi. An interesting element of my life as an artist is the paintings I displayed at my residence abroad as a diplomat spouse. Some of my paintings like the Kathakali is one of the most photographed of any paintings. Everyone who visited our residence in Switzerland had a photo with my Kathakali, thereby getting attracted to what the God’s own country has to offer. I remember one painting which particularly attracted Sri Sri Ravi Shankar during his visit to our home in Switzerland.

IIK: Any of the proud moment in your life as a painter?
Joice Sibi: There are several proud moments in the life of an artist. For me when a foreigner gets inspired to learn more about India’s great civilization and varied cultural traditions I feel proud. When a second or third generation Indian child or an Indian youth get inspired to know more about my motherland by seeing my paintings I feel proud. When I train children to paint Indian landscapes and monuments and when these generate some interest for them in India, I feel proud.

IIK: Being a diplomat's wife, and a mother of three, how do you get time for this?
Joice Sibi: The responsibility of the spouse of a diplomat is equally important as that of the diplomat. In today’s world the job of a diplomat is a 24x7 job. This become even more demanding when one climbs the ladder in seniority and becomes an Ambassador. But you have to find time. And I am happy that I am able to find time to look after my children, to support my husband in his responsibilities as a diplomat and also to pursue my painting passion.

IIK: Being a busy diplomat and active in the Indian community, how far your husband support you?
Joice Sibi: Sometimes I feel that he is more passionate than me on my paintings. He has more stories to say about some of my paintings than I myself want to say. I am happy that he enjoys my painting as much as I enjoy. I value his constructive criticism. He has zero artistic skills when it comes to painting. But he is very good at imagination and has a lot of ideas which is very important for a successful artist. I am happy that he is contributing immensely to my paintings through his imagination and constructive comments, which mostly I welcome but, of course, sometimes I reject completely. But it works, it works well.

IIK: You were in Switzerland before coming to Kuwait, and I can see a few paintings based on Swiss Alps in your collection. Any Such theme caught your attention during this short period in Kuwait?
Joice Sibi: Every country where I lived and every museum that I visited had an influence on my artistic endeavor. It is true of Switzerland and Italy too. The snow and lakes of Switzerland and the monuments and waterways of Italy have made a lasting impact on me. This is reflected in some of my paintings, like the waterways of Venice. But most of my paintings are directly or indirectly connected with my motherland, its history, its landscape and the nostalgia that I feel every day or the India connect in the countries where I lived. Here in Kuwait again I am getting influenced by a few factors. The traditional sailing vessel of Dhow which connected Kuwait with India for several generations is a great attraction. Most families in Kuwait have a story to share on how their great grandparents traded with India by navigating on these Dhows. I hope to do a few paintings on this India – Kuwait connection.

Yes, many of the Kuwaitis have a story to tell about their India connection. A country with great artists and number of art galleries, we hope Madam Joice Sibi can create a new chapter in Indo-Kuwait relationship on the cultural front.

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Express your comment on this article

Monday, March 8, 2021
Excellent and creative hobby. I wish you all the best.

Abdul Kadar Edakkara
Monday, March 8, 2021
Art can speak things that cannot always be said with words. Great creation of colors… Congratulations!

Sunday, March 7, 2021
Excellent work..Expecting an Exhibition in Kuwait one day.
God Bless You Madom.

Rahaman Khan
Sunday, March 7, 2021
Spectacular , versatile and Marvelous paintings. Very inspirational for all, and Madam''s way of venturing time simultaneously along with family and work is outstanding and salutes to madam for her contribution in building of bonds between India and world with colorful master pieces.
God bless you Madam.
We wish one day we could see a colorful gigantic gallery of yours in Kuwait.

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