Mimicking Mimi

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Argentinian artist Mimi Maruri (35) first came to Bangalore to see Sai Baba in ‘91. Along the route, romance happened. She met Javid Burhan (35), a businessman dealing with precious and semi-precious stones. Seven years of courtship later, the couple walked down the aisle.

That’s not her claim to fame.

Maruri is a fine arts graduate from Argentina, who has been selling jewellery designs to manufacturers in Italy and France for the past two years. And very soon, she would be doing Spain. “They are all in silver and very expensive,” says Maruri, who has made Bangalore her home. “The rings and earrings start from 1000 euros to 5000 euros for a necklace.”

That’s not it. “I get bored of a job very soon,” says Maruri, whose previous jobs include working for a five star hotel in Argentina as a PR person and later with Brazilian-based Varig Airlines in her hometown as part of the airline staff. “I also worked as an interpreter at the Indian embassy in Argentina and have also translated books from English to Spanish, including the Ramayana.”

Maruri’s constant companion is a Pentax K1000. “I like to do portraits, but they are not for sale,” unspools the in-bloom photographer. “They are mainly of family and friends.”

Some of the places she’s captured on film include the Stonehedge, Venice, Florence, Rome and Nepal. Closer home, she’s shot over a hundred pictures of the Taj Mahal and the Meenakshi temple in Madurai. Up next is a trip to capture the sights and sounds of Peru and Mexico on film.
Not that she hasn’t clicked professionally. “I have freelanced as a photographer with magazines in Argentina,” she says. “I love shooting landscapes, so I can use them later as subjects for my paintings.” She’s been painting professionally for the past 12 years.

She has had eight exhibitions in Argentina and Uruguay. This week, she will debut in India with an exhibition of paintings and jewellery at Fluid Space that’s on till August 31. Strangely, she doesn’t like to exhibit her stuff. “Too much exposing of your inner self can sometimes be painful when either the message that I am trying to convey doesn’t get across to people or they say don’t like it that well,” she says. “But I feel, art should be very much accessible to people. It doesn’t make sense if the people can’t see it and you keep it to yourself, which sis why I am exhibiting my works.”
And she’s a traveller. Some of the places she’s toured include all of South Africa, South America and Europe (except Portugal and Russia).

But ask this Buenos Aires-born to tell the difference between Bangalore and her hometown, and she gushes, “There’s no pollution, garbage, noise and cows on the roads like you have here. Buenos Aires is a very European city similar to Paris. When I first came to Bangalore in 1991, the pollution and noise was far less than what it is today.”

She does not stop there. “Given a choice, I would love to split time equally between staying here and in my hometown,” says Maruri, who trips on Russian, Italian, French, Latin American and Hollywood movies.

And her other indulgences? “I read a lot of fiction (Robert Grace, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Stephen King), philosophy, history and mythology,” she says. And about her musical wavelength, she coos, “Jazz, rock n roll, Latin American, flamenco, opera, western classical and tango… the music of my place.”

Mimi Maruri, 35
Argentinian artist who has made Bangalore her home
She’s a painter, photographer, jewellery designer and Spanish and Italian translator
Trips on rock n roll, tango, Opera and western classical
Lends her eye to horror movies and books by Stephen King, Robert Grace and Gabriel Garcia Marquez

(First published in City Reporter, 2003)