Delna Dastur

Quiet Refuge
Mixed Media on Canvas
24 x 24 in

About this Artist

Delna Dastur

Artist Statement


“I have no other wish than a close fusion with Nature…. Claude Monet


Having grown up in the tropics, in Mumbai, India, in a city of many millions, my senses were constantly subjected to a riot of color, energy, and commotion.  Vegetation was subjected to torrid heat, yet it persisted.  Trees sent their roots between pavers, insistent on surviving. The annual monsoon was the only source of water for the parched vegetation.  Yet the flowers and trees flourished, producing blossoms of incomparable color and shape.   These memories are the source of my paintings.  Invincible Nature is my subject.  I want to demonstrate its persistence, and its focus on survival despite all the odds.  I lean towards abstraction, and layer patterns and transparencies, color, and texture to reach my goals.


Alongside the vibrant dance of Nature in my work, there is a more somber underlying tone.  I am responding to the havoc caused by climate change.  Rampant construction is one of the culprits.  I use a line as a powerful tool to convey its dangerous spread. Below the flaunting flowers, there are grids and girders, grim reminders of potential harm.  I weave geometric forms in between the fluid shapes, wanting to exhibit the struggle between man and nature.  However, in this body of work, Nature is triumphant. 


The work is intuitive, and experimentation is prominent in all I do.  I allow it to evolve on its own, echoing Nature itself in how the paint thrives joyously all over the canvas, in total disarray, until the order is called for and line, thick and thin, straight, and undulating, guides the way.  I trust the way I work, allowing the organic growth of paint and texture on the canvas.  I thrive on solving complicated beginnings. 

I weave my past and present together. The compositions, with their complicated patterns and intertwining shapes, reflect my experiences. My work is a tapestry of my life. 




Born and raised in Mumbai, India, Delna's interest in art began at a very early age.

After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in English and French from the University of Bombay, she moved to the United States to study further and earned a second Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art History from Wellesley College, Massachusetts.  After working at the Smithsonian Institution for a couple of years, she returned to academics and earned a Master’s in Fine Arts degree from the American University, Washington DC. 

Delna has been teaching a class entitled “Exploring Abstraction” for the Smithsonian and the Art League in Alexandria since 2002.  Since the pandemic, she has been teaching the class on Zoom for the Smithsonian. 


The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts has offered her two residencies, the latest being in September 2021.  She has been a juror for shows at the Capitol Hill Art League, the latest being virtual in 2021.  Her work has been exhibited in galleries in Mumbai and New Delhi, where she had a solo show with Gallery Art Motif.  Delna was invited to exhibit her work for their 25th-anniversary exhibition in 2021 and gave a public lecture on Contemporary American Artists at the Museum in Mumbai. 


The Delaware Contemporary Arts, McLean Project for the Arts, Latela Curatorial, The Charles H. Taylor Art Center, Hampton, VA, (Juror’s Award), and the d’Art Center, Norfolk, VA are recent shows her art has been juried into.



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