Evanston artist Sarita Kamat talks her artistic journey from India to the U.S.


Courtesy of Sarita Kamat

Sarita Kamat Designs, 1627 Sherman Ave. Sarita Kamat is an Evanston-based artist originally from India who works in a variety of mediums including jewelry, acrylics, watercolor and more.

Laya Neelakandan, Reporter

Sarita Kamat knew she wanted to be an artist from the time she was a young girl in India, entranced by the nature that surrounded her.

“I loved to be outdoors and enjoy nature, so whenever we were out I would always try to recreate that memory of the visions I had and put those memories on paper,” Kamat said.

Now, she owns a gallery on Sherman Avenue — Artem Pop Up Gallery — where she showcases her own art and the work of other budding artists. Kamat works in a variety of mediums, including jewelry, acrylics and watercolor.

Kamat moved to the U.S. from Belgaum, India, 18 years ago for her job in business development. Even though her main career is not based in art, she said she has always been intrigued by it. She has experimented in many different mediums, and after moving to the U.S., she began to further immerse herself in the art realm.

“My neighbor is really responsible for my journey as an artist because she insisted I start participating in arts and crafts fairs,” Kamat said.

Since then, Kamat has shown her art in many galleries and continued learning more skills such as making hand-painted jewelry out of glass. She began by creating jewelry for herself, but started making more when her friends wanted to know where they could buy it for themselves.

Thus began Sarita Kamat Designs, which she eventually turned into a gallery. In addition to making her art, she also participated in workshops to learn more about the business side of the industry.

“It was part of my dream to have a studio to show and sell my work and at the same time also help other artists by creating a platform for them to share their work,” Kamat said.

She manages the gallery along with her husband, son and daughter, who are all artists too. There are currently works by 60 artists in the gallery, in addition to Kamat’s own pieces.

For artist Maike van Wijk, working with Kamat has been an amazing experience. She said Kamat has a certain “artistic perspective” that she especially values in Kamat’s curation of the gallery.

“She’s incredibly inspiring as a person. She does so many things, and she’s super supportive of diversity of arts, regardless of age range or where you’re from or what you do,” van Wijk said. “She’s quite the power woman.”

Similarly, artist Bonnie Glassner, who taught Kamat in an art class, said Kamat is extremely talented.

The two met in Glassner’s class, where Kamat sought to understand how to control alcohol inks in her jewelry.

“She definitely had an innate talent when she came to the class,” Glassner said. “She has a lot of drive and passion about her art.”

The recent months have been difficult for the gallery due to the pandemic. Kamat said she had to close the facility for three months, although she provided virtual tours by appointment of the gallery, where customers could choose items to purchase.

Ultimately, Kamat is hopeful for the future and continues to make and sell her art.

“I want to make this my career eventually,” Kamat said. “I like dabbling in everything — I’m never satisfied with just one kind of art.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @laya_neel

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