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Art of Medicine

Parisian Twilight

By Khushboo Jhala ('16)
Acrylic on canvas 48" by 20"

Khushboo Jhala's interest in art goes way back. "My parents say that from the moment I learned to pick up a pencil, there was no stopping me," she says. Her mother, a pathologist with a strong background in Indian classical music and painting, played a prominent role in her artistic upbringing.

Jhala was born in India, and she and her family moved to Philadelphia, Houston, and eventually to Birmingham, Ala., where she earned her college degree in international studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She never studied art formally until her senior year of high school, when she began work on large-scale paintings.

I find art a meaningful avenue to empathy. . . . This can be very useful in medicine.

Before she travels, she studies the culture and history of the cities she plans to see. She also loves doing a painting before and after she visits. Parisian Twilight, a three-part cityscape, is her "before" painting based on paintings and photographs. "The 'before' painting allows me to explore very closely the features of the city, revealing the not-so-obvious attractions that I would love to see in real life," she says.

She pulls ideas from modern impressionism. The colors she uses are "exaggerated along with my choice of brush stroke. Art allows me to reflect on how naturally beautiful and interesting the world is, but also to envision it in a new light, equally as powerful and beautiful," she says.

"I find art a meaningful avenue to empathy," she says. "It forces both the viewer and the artist to examine subtle details very intimately that, when put together, bring a whole new meaning to the piece. This can be very useful in medicine. . . . Look, listen, and see carefully and the patient will tell you everything you need to know about them, including their disease, just as a piece of art will tell you its own meaning."


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