“Yes, I am here and have come a long way to get here!”br>
“The 'Survivor' series is about my life’s journey. I’ve survived many hardships and have lived to tell my story. This body of work is a direct reflection of who I am. My goal is to evoke emotion and touch your heart through the stories behind each painting.
“Members of my family have suffered from mental illness, drug abuse, and other addictions. These were challenging times. I learned that it is okay to fall during these challenges because I know that I have the strength, courage, and determination to get back up. This body of work is a result of my courageous battle with kidney cancer just four years ago. During my recovery, I found art again and asked myself, “How can I tell my story through my art?” I sat in my studio for hours, even days, experimenting. My daughter Rachel came into my studio and suggested I paint figures that represented many of the challenges I faced during my battle with cancer.
“Watercolour is my passion, but after many failed experiments I realized I was not able to show the boldness that I wanted through watercolour. I wanted the paint to have a reflective quality; a reflection of me; and then I found it! It was bold, strong, and vibrant. An oil-based glass paint was exactly what I wanted. Each layer took days to dry, and I used a pouring technique which posed many challenges. The result, however, was masterful -- each colour customized to keep it vibrant and alive.
“I wanted these powerful figures to stand tall and proud, and say: “Having personally overcome cancer, diabetes, a recent stroke; and, at the same time, dealing with my family members who have suffered from mental illness, drug abuse, and other addictions – I know that I can overcome anything.” (St. Catharines artist Renu D'Cunha is self-taught and recalls, at age seven, entering and winning her first art competition in 1967, one year after her family moved from India to Atlantic Canada. Later in life, after coming to Niagara. she studied visual arts at Niagara College.)