Indian American tech pioneer Padmasree Warrior finds a parallel career in painting

Padmasree Warrior
Padmasree Warrior, photo credit: Cisco

Warrior shares a Madhubani painting titled “Harmony” on social media.

Away from the usual hustle and bustle of the tech world, Padmasree Warrior’s parallel career — painting — seems to be in full swing.

In her latest work, a Madhubani painting, the Indian American technology pioneer has discovered the inner spirit of Bihar’s unique art.

Aptly titled “Harmony,” she has shared the work with her 1.45 million followers on Twitter.

In it, Warrior, 58, revisits the meaning of Madhubani, or “forest of honey,” or the birthplace of the art, located in picturesque surroundings on the boarder of Nepal and India. She combines three styles — Kachni (Hatching), Bharni (shading) and Godna (tattoo) — into one in the painting.

Sharing the painting on social media last week, the former chief technology officer of Cisco, who made it to Forbes’ list of top female tech moguls, said, “Madhubani meaning ‘forest of honey’ is a place bordering present day Nepal & India. This art form is >2500yrs old. I have combined 3 styles, Kachni (Hatching), Bharni (shading) and Godna (tattoo) in my painting. What do you think?”

"Harmony" by Padmasree Warrior.
“Harmony” by Padmasree Warrior. Image via Twitter

Warrior is known for her blend of ideas, whether they are in arts or technology. Her last painting was “Saraswathi – goddess of knowledge,” done in Kerala mural-style acrylics on canvas.

Born in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, and graduated from IIT-Delhi, Warrior is married to Mohandas Warrior and has built a successful career in a highly competitive US tech field.

Outside of the office, her world is filled with art, literature and fashion. She routinely posts images of her paintings, details of novels she is reading, and share her weekend fashion choices under the hashtag #warriorstyle.

Warrior’s vision for future technology reflects the same contrast or combination that is the central theme in her paintings. In a recent board meeting, the technocrat pondered how the next generation of technology is going to be. In her words, “2018 was a dramatic wake up call to the risks and impact of social media on mental health, education and democracy.” She hopes to see business models that use a combination of artificial intelligence and machine learning to advance greater inclusion and humanity.

Warrior served in executive positions at Motorola and Cisco before joining as the CEO of the Chinese electric-autonomous-vehicle startup NIO. She left NIO last December. At Cisco Systems, she had helped the tech giant grow in influence through acquisitions. She is also on the boards of Microsoft and Spotify.

Announcing her name on its list, Forbes said: “Warrior still finds the time to mentor other women in the tech industry, stay in touch with her 1.6 million Twitter followers and follow a nightly meditation routine.”

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