Born in Thiruvananthapuram, India in 1959, Paul moved to England to study at the Slade School of Fine Art. Paul has since exhibited her work extensively with Bernard Jacobson Gallery and Marlborough Fine Art in London. Since 2014, Paul has been represented by Victoria Miro. Paul's work is held in countless collections, including those of the British Museum, London, the National Portrait Gallery, London the Metropolitan Museum, New York and the Morgan Library and Museum, New York and the Yale Centre for British Art, Connecticut. Paul won the Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize in 2011 with her Self-Portrait (2010). Most recently, Paul published a dazzling memoir entitled, Self-Portrait in 2019.
Paul is best known for her figurative painting. Each one of Paul's portraits begins with a deep connection with her sitter. Paul's first ever works were portraits of her mother, her greatest muse, whom she painted from 1977 to 2007. Paul has since begun painting her four sisters, her close friends and herself.
Paul's Self-Portrait is notable for its exploration of the theme of artist-as-creator. In Paul's winning self-portrait, caught between self-examination and self-possession, Paul is her own muse.