LEELA RUPA artist
Albert Camus said, “. . . A work of art is a confession.” As confession is truth telling, I believe that art is both medium and message, whose goal is to coax truth from the artist and elicit feeling in those experiencing it. In all of my work, I feel a tremendous responsibility to be true to my vision, myself, and context. Sometimes I want to run in the other direction, yet I stay through the discomfort, with the beacon of certainty that I will find that truth—or it will find me.

Though my birthplace is the Channel Islands, my parents were followers guru Osho (1931–1990), who was regarded as one of the most controversial Indian spiritual leaders of the twentieth century. We lived on his commune, wearing the colors of the rising sun (red, orange, and purple; never yellow) and a mala of 108 wooden beads. Commune living was difficult, for hiding was impossible. As a child and into my formative years, I never felt strong or in control, but instead, exposed and afraid. Through art and its processes, I found my strength and robustness. I also found that I could be out of control on my own terms, which I found meant perhaps not having terms. With that realization, I began to blend opposites, highlight dichotomies, and find a sense of comfort in the unknown. Each time I pick up a pencil, I never know what it will create; art may leave me feeling crushed, but it always brings out my gumption.