Interview with Jalpa H Vithalani – Serial Entrepreneur, Creative Head and Director at Cosmic Heart Gallery
Hi Jalpa, thank you for joining me. You are such an entrepreneur! Apart from being the Creative Head and Director at Cosmic Heart Gallery you also are the Director of numerous other institutions and a Reconnective Healing Practitioner. Tell us about which path has been your true calling and one that has touched you the most?
Right from being a farmer, to Reconnective Healing, journey with travel and logistics, art and curation… this is essentially a part of who I am and has been an integral part of my evolution. So it’s all inter-related and dynamic. The common thread is bringing in creativity and my own uniqueness to whatever I do. Also I am a people’s person whether you put me in the city or in a village. I like to involve and engage with others. It comes naturally.
You somehow manage doing so many things efficiently! Tell us what your source of inspiration is?
I think I am simply flowing like a river on the paths as they unfold. While I am good at multi-tasking, I think I hibernate and consolidate as much as I engage in action and implementation. I do whatever I am passionate about, touches me and makes me happy. That is inspiration enough. Life itself is about an expression. I believe that life as you see it, awakens you to the artist inside you in whatever you do and once that happens, you want to contribute back. This is what has motivated my work.
There must have been hard times or delays on some projects. What was your most difficult experience and how did you manage to overcome/succeed in the end?
I had a dream that I must open this gallery. I was given complete direction…..and it was totally out of my comfort zone. I was a floriculture entrepreneur exporting roses around the world, we were representing the Finnish Tourist Board and I loved that part of my work and was also so busy with Reconnective Healings. I am an artist myself. I came across many artists who had no idea of my dream, who started asking me to launch them…The incubation process for the gallery took a year… I ignored this idea for a long time…but the gallery had to manifest. It’s a gift of the universe. We have had over 130 successful events related to art, culture and music in a short span of seven years.
Being the Creative Head and Director at Cosmic Heart Gallery, how difficult is it for you to curate or choose from various artists that you would want to exhibit in the gallery? What is the deciding factor or the key-element that helps you choose?
The key deciding factor is it must be beautiful and appeal to me aesthetically. It must be something I would put up at home. The selection or choosing process is instant. Curation, creating a story around it and a meaningful one at that, comes naturally after the connect is made.
Your Gallery showcases many prominent artists and collections. Which collection/showcase do you think stood out amongst the rest and managed to touch audiences in a more spiritual way?
Each show that I have curated is unique in its own way. However if you ask me about touching the audiences in a more spiritual way, what comes to mind is Natasha Lalla’s work and the latest ongoing exhibition Kensho ~ Seeing into one’s true nature by Sarfaraz Laskari.
Kensho is a Zen collection of lyrically abstracted Buddha’s and stunning representations of nature. This serene series take you to a place of silence, peace & joy. Through these paintings we are inviting you to have a pure, direct experience, where the inner and outer worlds rhyme.
The exhibition showcases a ‘Shikantaza’ series which literally means to sit and depicts a practice of Zen Buddhism that involves understanding emptiness. When we reflect that there is another world beyond our limited experience, we can empty ourselves of preconceived ideas and accept things as they are.
The beautiful Lotus series, Pipala series, the Fig tree under which Buddha achieved enlightenment, Rushen series ~ denoting & depicting clarity, a Nature series also form part of this unique exhibition. The artist’s philosophies are influenced by spiritualists like Eckhart Tolle, Rupert Spira, Mooji & Allan Watts. Sarfaraz’s artistic freedom showcases Buddhist perception – everything is alive and influences everything else revealing bio- spirituality.
We have presented a prized creation of Sarfaraz Laskari to His Holiness, The Dalai Lama in Mumbai and were blessed beautifully.
Painting for over two decades, Natasha Lalla has developed a distinct style of her own, which involves painting with her fingers. She is a one of the million artists who has never owned a paintbrush. Natasha unleashes a host of creative and universal energies. Abstraction in acrylic is what she derives in her paintings which to a lame-eye can be summed up as exuberant harvests of blending colours and finger strokes. One could say that Natasha’s art style is something on the lines of the famed artist Rassoulli whose work has been quoted as ‘the art that dances… without dancers’.
Natasha’s art helps one journey into parallel realities and experience a larger, more colorful take on life! In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson – “The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.”
Natasha’s use of colours and her unique style of painting is unmatched. She has a deep understanding of how colours impact one’s overall sense of well-being. Painting in free form, stream of consciousness is a form of artistic meditation. Natasha has a unique way of reflecting her spiritual and sublime experiences by expressing images from her subconscious onto canvas by swirling finger strokes.
The artist has been sharing her unique gift of helping people discover their souls through her paintings. She started her journey with Cosmic Heart Gallery and we have sold hundreds of her paintings around the world.
Cosmic Heart Gallery from India was one of the 16 international galleries invited to showcase their work at Art Bahrain Across Borders 2019 which was held under The Patronage of Her Royal Highness, Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Wife of His Majesty the King of Bahrain, President of the Supreme Council for Women. Natasha’s work was widely appreciated and is with the Royal families in Bahrain.
Where does your love of “Art” stem from?
I have loved art since childhood. My earliest memories is attending art class at Uma Mallik’s home as a 5 year old. I loved sketching, creating and could sit endlessly for hours with pen and ink.
Can you tell us more about BPW International. What does your involvement and work entail?
BPW (Business and Professional Women) International is the largest organization in the world for Business and Professional Women in more than 100 countries, empowering and promoting women.
I represented India at 29th BPW International Congress in Cairo in 2018 and was invited to speak about Art & Reconnective Healing. I was subsequently appointed as the President of BPW Mumbai. I represented India at The United Nations Headquarters in New York at CSW62 session on the Commission on Status of Women.
What is exciting that I am a member of International Task Force of Arts for Peace and Intercultural Understanding. The vision is to create a worldwide committee and pass subliminal messages through art and give a platform to talent.
Along with Dr. Amany Asfour, President of BPW International and Ms. Susan Jones, Vice President of BPW International we launched the cultural and environmental project of BPW South Mumbai, at the sacred river Narmada in Jabalpur during SWEEP 2019. We recorded a special ‘aarti’ with talented artist Josh Crooner and launched a special initiative to keep the river pollution free. This supports Sustainable Development Goals of UN.
Jalpa, there are only a handful of people practicing “Reconnective Healing” in India and you have been instrumental in spreading its awareness. Could you educate us some more on this kind of healing and its eventual benefits?
My sister Toral and myself were among first few Reconnective Healing practitioners in India and I must say has been a very fulfilling journey. Reconnective Healing® is quite simply a gateway to accelerated life progress – whether you are looking to affect change in your own life, experience yourself in a new light or to live with inspiring health and balance.
Reconnective Healing® is founded by Dr Eric Pearl and is internationally recognised as a comprehensive approach to energy Healthcare. Its benefits are measurable, effecting positive physical, mental, emotional and spiritual change.
Reconnective Healing is strongly supported by the latest theories on nuclear and quantum physics. In a published study by Gary Schwartz, Ph.D., Lab Director of Advances in Consciousness and Health at the University of Arizona, the longevity of different groups of leaves taken from the same tree was tested. The control set was left to die naturally and perished between 3-12 days. When Reconnective Healing was applied to the fourth set, the healing began quickly, some leaves regenerating roots, and the leaves’ lifespans lasted up to 90 days – longer than those treated with Reiki and Qi Gong.
Stanford Professor Emeritus, Dr. William Tiller, says that when information carried through The Reconnective Healing frequencies is introduced, it creates coherence and order. In other words, greater harmony and balance within us.
How has “Reconnective Healing” impacted your life on a more personal level?
My own life transformed 180 degrees, ever since I had my Reconnective Healing & The Reconnection done in September 2010. I experienced shifts at every level – mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, financial…
My gallery birthed in a dream after I had my Reconnection done and I was given complete direction on the name Cosmic Heart Gallery, the space, the logo and much more. It is truly a gift of universe and we have curated over 130 successful events related to art, cultural and music in a short span of 7 years.
It is a three way process and the practitioner is also in receiving mode. The more healings I do, I find that the more life is opening for me.
Jalpa, you also are the State Director of the NGO – Humans For Humanity. What they do is absolutely life-changing. Please share with us some inspiring stories from your experiences here? One of the projects headed under “Humans for Humanity” is WASH! I found this particularly interesting and empowering. Tell us something more about it and how it has positively changed mindsets?
Humans For Humanity is an NGO headquartered in Delhi, which was founded in 2014 by Anurag Chauhan. The organization also works on the following projects, Street Smart, Each One Teach One, Clean India Campaign and Promotion of Indian Culture and Heritage.
What we have launched in big way in Maharashtra is WASH – Women Sanitation & Hygiene. There is still a huge population of women in India who die due to poor menstrual hygiene. Every year in India, it is estimated that about 240,000 women die from extremely poor personal hygiene practices.
Workshops are held with young girls to make them aware about Menstruation – biological reasons of menstruation, hormonal changes, nutrition, natural remedies, taboos, looking after and loving themselves. These workshops are conducted not just in urban slums but also in villages, tribal areas, cities and every possible venue to reach out to the women.
We distribute free sanitary napkins during the workshops. We are producing eco friendly cloth kits in different parts of the country even during this lockdown period, which can be used for over 2 years. These are produced by women and provides them a livelihood.
The biggest invention after WORLD WAR II was Sanitary Napkins for women. It was the biggest step in empowering women around the world.
It’s been an incredible and fulfilling journey to take in the WASH project all around Maharashtra. I started with the first workshop in Nasik at the Priyanka Technical Institute and trained hundred ‘Anganwadi’, workers who are each in charge of one village. They in turn raised awareness to at least 100 women in each village. So it is like a domino effect.
I started walking into slums in Nasik and those days covered 600 ladies in three days. It went viral and I started receiving calls and started getting invited. I was amazed that one of the venues chosen by the ladies was actually a Hanuman temple. When I reached I found a group of over 200 ladies along with their children waiting enthusiastically for me. Obviously at least some of them might have been menstruating; that itself was breaking the taboo. Since then I think we have conducted workshops in several temples, organically so. It is a common meeting ground for many.
We always engage the older ladies as well, as they can support the younger generation to make shifts and break away from taboos. It’s also important to sensitive the men and often they have been part of the workshops. Our Founder Anurag is an incredible young man too. We have covered over 10,000 women in Maharashtra so far in a short span of time.
And then there’s “Global Agritech”. What sets it apart from other Agri-firms in this domain? How has your vision been incorporated here?
What sets us apart – the professionalism and commitment with which we work. As a Group we have been into Aviation & Logistics since the last 45 years and engaged with several international partners. When I set up Global Agritech from ground up it was a backward integration process; since we were already shipping perishable produce. What set us apart from other floriculture firms is that we could not only grow a quality product; but package it excellently and ship it on time.
Global Agritech (I) Pvt. Ltd. is one of the pioneers in rose cultivation in India. I am the Vice President of Western India Floriculture Association. Global Agritech represents one of the world renown Dutch breeders Schreurs in India. Breeders are ones who genetically engineer new varieties of roses. We test their products in Indian climatic conditions and market them to other companies.
80% of the employees are women and that is fulfilling indeed. We provide quality employment to rural youth. Their families believe it is respectable to work on a rose farm. They are also good with handling of flowers. Our strength also lies in training – the women love their work & environment (imagine being at a rose farm day in and day out), we love the family bonds and relationships created, so it’s a win-win situation for all.
I was fairly young when I appointed on APEX body of APEDA – Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority by Shri. Kamal Nath – who was then Minister of Commerce & Industry, Government of India. We used to be only two women in the boardroom of 70 men.
Global Agritech represented one of the largest Auction Houses in Europe, Flora Holland in India and was training other floriculture units to package and export their produce. This is the only time in history that they have appointed someone in India to represent them.
I am a ‘kisan’ (farmer) at heart. So the love for the soil and bringing a professional and humane approach on how we run the project is what made the difference.
Truly amazing work you do! This also means that your daily schedule must be very hectic. How do you manage to maintain your calm through it all? How do you create balance in your professional and personal life?
Yes the daily schedule is rather hectic. Multi-tasking is something I am doing constantly. But then I hibernate as much as I do things. This helps me assimilate life, just be and do nothing at times. With this I regain my sense of purpose. Balancing happens naturally and yet is an ongoing process, as eventually everything is about nothing…and it is important to be and enjoy that space nothingness on this journey called life.
And remember it is in the stillness that you can create…so even when I am curating a show, writing something it just flows seamlessly in the quietest moments. These things are spontaneous and cannot be forced.
You also work closely with the Dalai-Lama…such an incredible honor! Tell us your journey getting there and what has impacted you the most about meeting/speaking with him?
These are life’s biggest blessings, thanks to the gallery. His Holiness has always blessed the path of Cosmic Heart Gallery…the most beautiful time with Him has been at His Palace in Dharamshala where I was invited for an International Youth Peace Summit by United States Institute of Peace. We were a nice intimate group of 40-50 young leaders engaged in the work. For me it has been spreading love & peace through art.
My parents were also granted a personal audience and His Holiness presented a Buddha from His own altar to my father. These are the priceless timeless treasures. His compassion and sense of humour touched me the most. I realized later I was childlike around Him; just soaking in the frequencies.
“Healing through Creativity”….What are your thoughts on it?
Everyone is creative by virtue of their existence. It is the gallery’s journey to touch the innate sense of creativity of every person whose path we cross. When we engage in anything creative, we heal at subliminal levels and in powerful ways.
What can we expect to look forward to from you in the near future?
You can expect lots of beautiful art to adorn your homes, events related to music, taking Reconnective Healing around the world and social work.
What advice would you like to give young women who look up to you and everything that you have achieved in your life?
“Love yourself. Live each moment. Do what makes you happy. Life is truly about being happy and well.”Jalpa H Vithalani
It is so important to nourish ourselves and not wait for something or someone outside to do that.
And remember success does not always entail us to be on the move. Sometimes we need to sit back and sip the moments like a cup of tea.
How can our readers contact you or find out more about your future projects?
Readers can mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com and reach us on our website: http://www.cosmicheartgallery.info/. The events page gives an idea of all ongoing and upcoming initiatives.
My social media handles are
Instagram : jvcosmicheart
Twitter : @JalpaVithalani
AN INTERVIEW BY CHRISELDA BARRETTO
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