#HerCareers Interview with Bahaar Dhawan Rohatgi
Bahaar is an artist and a lawyer. For 5 years she has worked as a Senior Associate at Shardul Amarchand Managaldas, Delhi and then with an independent counsel for a year. Now she is a full-time artist. After leaving the 9 to 5 job behind she has made her name in the art world. She has won Best Emerging Artist by ASSOCHAM, SAARC Women’s Economic Forum in 2018 and has represented India in Japan, NYC, Dubai, Venice. Bahaar has also had one of the largest public displays by an Indian artist in New York in 2020.
What made you pursue law and subsequently how did you get into Art?
Bahaar: I was always good with academics and my family felt that I had an aptitude for legal work, so they swerved me in that direction, which I enjoyed doing. However, Art has always been in my DNA. I used to carry on my creative pursuits even during my busy legal work days and this held me in good stead because I was always relaxing with one and would use the other stream to charge me up for the other profession. After 10 years of studying, training and then practicing law, which I loved, I began thinking about switching gears into the art world. Pre-covid, I started reducing the legal work and turning to art. In the last couple of months, I have been fairly busy in creating and selling art.
How did you decide to make the switch to being an Artist full time?
Bahaar: I worked at Shardul Amarchand Managaldas, Delhi, as a Senior Associate for 5 years and then with an independent counsel for a year. Once I got married a lot more commitments and responsibilities came along. That’s when I decided that I can’t keep juggling between legal work and art. It was time for me to quit the whole law firm culture. I was painting a lot more and people slowly started noticing and buying my pieces. This gave me a lot of encouragement. Then I went on and had a solo exhibition. The exhibition was a sold-out show and that’s when I decided to make art my primary profession. I took a sabbatical from the legal field, but during this sabbatical I was staying busy. For 6 months I did a lot of groundwork, like raising funds and giving legal advices.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Bahaar: Each of my paintings tells a story, leaving the audience to discern the same. It is the only time when all three elements — my mind, body and soul — are completely in sync. Creating this experience empowers me while the joy in creating is unparalleled. Even during my legal days when I felt drained out I would just come back home and paint.
What advice would you give to young women lawyers aspiring to have a journey similar to yours?
Bahaar: My advice to young women lawyers would be, be adventurous and make time for yourself to explore different avenues because you will always be greater than the sum of your parts. Whatever your profession and life goal may be everything operates together so you should enrich yourself as a person and that will reflect on your work and your mindset, generally in your life. I would say try everything, take a chance to rule out what’s not for you as well and you never know what you will find.