Manvi Walter, a second-year St. Thomas University international student from India, uses her skills with a paintbrush to shed light on the beauty of skin tone.
Walter’s art series, Melanin, is a collection of pieces that showcase the beauty of dark skin. Her first piece was uploaded to Instagram in October 2020.
She said when she came to STU, she got to explore various art forms like sculpting. Walter said she got more ideas from getting to know people from all around the world and seeing the beauty of people of colour.
“I chose Melanin because I wanted to, first of all, showcase women of colour and Black women in their natural form, even men for that matter, and show people how pretty we can be in the simplest forms,” said Walter.
Walter’s passion for fine arts first came about when she watched her mother paint as a young child growing up in India.
She said her first memory of painting was when she was three, watching her mother paint.
“Those flashing of colours with my hand turned into drawing,” she said. “From there, I caught on and it’s been non-stop ever since.”
Walter said she has thought of commissioning her pieces once she has collected enough to form various other series of artwork. She said the more she produces, the more she keeps them.
She also has a knack for drawing, but she said her artistic talent wasn’t an overnight success.
“I started off with pencil because you first need to get your hands strong in one medium before you can jump into the other because if you can’t do it, you’re just going to feel bad,” she said.
After testing the waters with charcoal pencils, Walter went on a journey with watercolour painting.
“It is fairly difficult but I’m getting there,” she said. “That is the thing about art. You can mix the two mediums, or you can focus solely on one. It’s [a] never-ending practice.”
She said she’s also looking into pottery making. She said she needs to know how the process works, but she will learn if there’s a class.
Walter said she has taken a few fine arts courses at STU and is looking forward to exploring the curriculum more.
She hopes people learn to understand how significant the relationship people have with art is. She said someone close to her told her that her artwork represents a strong emotion like happiness or rage.
“I realised that I do draw a lot when I’m feeling very strongly no matter what,” she said.
Walter has set a few future plans to launch her career as a young artist. She said she’s trying to be more open and try to be connected with local artists. Walter said if she solely devoted herself to art, she wants to curate an art museum.
Walter said art is not simply a couple of strokes of paint. She said there’s a story behind every artwork whether amateur or professional.
“It does not just end up in museums. It has tradition, culture, it has endless stories. All of the subjects can be linked to art, like history or math.”