A RAY OF HOPE
Curator: Shardul Kadam
( Black & white artworks in any format and about any subject )
an Viewing online art exhibition at NipponGallery.com
After World War -II, the world has faced such a huge disaster and loss of lives now, during Covid-19 pandemic. Being artists we can feel the unrest, sorrow and misery of people all over the world.
In this difficult situation every human being has become a warrior, together fighting against this dark period with strong hopes, faith and energy. This historic pandemic has made us realize the uncertainty, nothingness and completeness in human life.
This situation also emphasizes the role of hope and faith of man in the infinite journey of survival of civilizations through various natural and man-made disasters since ancient time to modern era.
In art history, the absence and presence of light is used to represent spiritual energy, divinity, gods and goddess etc. Brahman in Indian Vedic literature, Chinese theory of Yin and Yang, Buddhist theory of Shunyavada, The Theory of Big bang discuss about the 'nothingness ' and 'completeness' that relates to black and white.
Scientifically, black and white do not have specific wavelengths. Instead, white light contains all wavelengths of visible lights. Black, on the other hand, is the absence of visible light.
At the same time in color theory, white is the absence of all color and black is the presence of all color. A visual play using black and white together creates neutrality and infiniteness.
'A ray of hope’ presents achromatic artworks of various artists from the country coming together to represent their individual approaches and style, that reveal different aspects of hopes and faith in the context of human survival.
- Shardul Kadam
Please share works image with note and short CV note: email@example.com with sub: A Ray of Hope
Last date : 30/ 5/ 2020
Friday, 5 June 2020
Monday, 18 May 2020
Sunday, 17 May 2020
PRO- PRINTMAKER | Kolkata Ink |
Explore artworks by various Printmakers from different countries all over the world coming together to showcase their Print.
Curator : Srabani Sarkar
Join us for this art exhibition online
Date: 18th May to 10th June 2020.
Sale inquiry : Skype / ZOOM
Share : Facebook / Instagram
Print on Print
Thursday, 7 May 2020
Call for Entries
All practicing printmakers worldwide are invited to participate in
“PRO-PRINTMAKER WORLD PREMIER”
An international open call for prints
Organized by Kolkata Ink.
This international exhibition of fine art printmaking will be open for all national and international Artists
- All practicing printmakers worldwide are invited to submit 2 original print’s digital image. (no larger than 3MB) .
- All printmaking techniques are accepted. Except digital art.
- Artist name-
- Work title-
- Medium –
- Size in inch-
- Prices –
- Number of editions available for sale
- Self portrait.
- Application Deadline: 12 May 2020
- Exhibition Dates: 18 May to 10 June 2020.
- Artist have to do send your artwork & details to
Wednesday, 29 April 2020
COVID-19 LOCKDOWN | NIPPON GALLERY |
Explore artwork by various artists from different states all over the India coming together to showcase their work done during lockdown.
STUDIO ARREST l
21 days COVID-19 LOCKDOWN INDIA 2020
In deadly time, life in these quarantine time work of art.
Join us for this art exhibition online
Date: 1st May 2020 to 28th May 2020.
Online viewing room: https://nippongallery.com/product…/nippongallerypresentshow/
Sale inquires : Skype / ZOOM
Share : Facebook / Instagram
Note: Artwork will be couriered in roll format with no shipping charges.
Thursday, 26 March 2020
आज का डरा हुआ विश्व और सहमा सा रंगमंच !
डर..! डर हम इंसानो कि सबसे मजबूत और पुरानी सटीक भावना है l सबसे प्राचीन और सबसे मजबूत डर अनदेखे भविष्य का डर है ! अमरिका के मशहूर लेखक हॉवर्ड फिलिप्स लवक्राफ्ट ने इस बात को साझा किया जब वे खुद कि निजी जिंदगी में इसका अनुभव कर चुके थे l
इतिहास के अस्तित्व में आने से बहोत पहले मनुष्यो का अस्तित्व था l प्रागैतिहासिक मनुष्यो के बारे में जानने लायक सबसे महत्वपूर्ण बात ये है के वे मामुली प्राणी थे, जिनका अपने पर्यावरण पर गुरील्लाओं, जुगनूओं या मछली से ज्यादा प्रभाव नही था l आज का मनुष्य इन् सबसे कई गुना आगे सोचने लगा हैl
आज पुरी दुनिया लॉक डाऊन में जी रही है.. सब कूछ जैसे थम स गया हैl इन्सान की ये फितरत हि नही के वो कई दिनो तक एकही जगह बैठा रहेl मगर हमारी खुद कि गलती को हमे खुद को हि मिटाना होगा, संयम और सतर्कता से l आज के जमाने में सोशल नेट्वर्किंग कि वजह से कम से कम एक दुसरे से संपर्क तो कर सकते है, जानकारी पहुंचा सकते हैl युवाल नोआ हरारी कि माने तो हम अपनी जबरदस्त बुद्धिमत्ता को लेकर बोहोत आसक्त है, हम मानते है कि जहां तक दिमागी शक्ती का सवाल है, वह जितनी ज्यादा हो उतनी हि अच्छी है, लेकीन ऐसा है नही; और अगर ऐसा होता तो बिल्लीयो कि प्रजाती ने कूछ ऐसी बिल्लीयो को उत्पन्न किया होता जो Calculus कर सकती l
हाल ही में पुरा विश्व फिर से एक बार ‘Black Death’ कि तरफ बढ रहा है l ‘ब्लैक डेथ’ अक्तूबर १३४७ में युरोप में काले समुंदर कि दुरी तय कर के व्यापारियो कि जहाजो से निकली प्लेग कि महामारी थी l करीब करीब एक दर्जन जहाज किनारे तो लगे मगर उनमे से कोई बाहर न निकला l किनारो पर खडे लोगो के कूछ समझ में नही आ रहा था l कूछ देर बाद जब किनारो पर इंतजार कर रहे लोग जहाज पर चढे तो उनके होश उड गये l जहाजो में मिली लाशे और लाशो में कूछ जिंदा लोग जो किसी तऱह जिने कि उम्मीद लगा बैठे थे l वे सभी मौते प्लेग के कारण हुई थी l जहाज पर संवार हो कर आइ ये महामारी धीरे-धीरे युरोप के कई हिस्सो में फैल गई और तकरीबन आधी आबादी को खतम कर दिया l ये बिमारी वही से फैलकर समुचे विश्व में पहुंची l इस घटना के कई सालों बाद भारत कि प्रथम महिला अध्यापिका सावित्रीबाई फुले इनका निर्वाण भी प्लेग जैसी बिमारी के कारण हि हुआ था l इस महामारी से समुचे युरोप कि हालत काफी खस्ता हो गई l प्राकृतिक आपदासे बिमारियो का जैसा असर दुसरे देशो में था, युरोप में भी वैसा हि था l लोगो को खाने-पिने जैसी संसाधनो कि किल्लत उठानी पडी l जिनके पास अनाज था वें ३०० प्रतिषद तक दाम बढाचढा कर बेचने लगे l जिनके पास साधन नही था वे भूखो मरने मजबूर थे l लाखो लोगो कि भूख के चलते तडप-तडप के मौत हो गई थी l
| Image source|
आज कि तरह तब भी ये महामारी चीन से हि आयी थी सन १३४० के बाद जब चीन में ये कहर बरपा तब ये चीन कि सरहद तक सिमट कर नही रहा और व्यापार में सहुलीयत के लिहाज से मध्य-एशिया, एशिया और दक्षिण युरोप के बीच संपर्क स्थापित करने के लिये सदियो पूर्व, थल और जल मार्ग विकसित किया गया था, जिसे ‘Silk Road’ कहा जाता था l ‘सिल्क रोड’ इसलिये क्यो के उसी मार्ग से सिल्क का व्यापार हुआ करता था, और इसी मार्ग के जरीये प्लेग जैसी महामारी भारत पहुंची थी l आज ये हवाई मार्ग से भारत और अन्य जगह फैल गया है l जब के उस वक़्त इतने प्रगत राष्ट्र नही थे l आज पुरी दुनिया में विज्ञान काफी आगे जा चुका है मगर कोरोना जैसे विषाणू से पुरे विश्व के वैज्ञानिक परेशान है, खोज रहे है जब के दुनियाभर के प्रगत राष्ट्र में इस विषाणू से मरने वाले लोगों कि तादात बढती जा रही है l
भारत कि जनता में आज कई ऐसे लोग है जिनके पास संसाधनो कि कमी है l रोज वे घर से बाहर निकलते है, तभी अपने परिवार के लिये रोटी का इंतजाम कर सकते है l मगर जब पुरा विश्व लॉक डाऊन है तब कई सारे परिवार इसकी चपेट में आना जायझ है, और हमे इन सबके बारे में सोचना बोहोत जरुरी है l ‘ब्लैक डेथ’ को दुनिया के इतिहास में सबसे खतरनाक महामारी के नाम से जाना जाता हैl हमे यानी समुचे विश्व को ये दोहराना नही है, अगर हम राज्य और केंद्र सरकार द्वारा बताये नियमो का पालन करेंगे तो हम अपने प्रीयजनो को दोबारा अपनी बाहोमें समेट सकते है l
| Image source|
हमारी पिढी, जो ये सब हालात अपनी आखों दे देख-महसूस कर रही है, आने वाले समय में गवाह रहेंगे, कैसे इन्सान जैविक हथियार का शिकार हो रहा है.. कोरोना संक्रमण से बचने हेतू हम आज घर बैठे अपने प्रियजनो कि खुशहाली पुछ रहे है l जब हम उनके पास थे उससे कई गुना ज्यादा आज हमे उनके होने का अहसास सता रहा है l हमें एक दुसरे के प्रेम कि बोहोत जरुरत हैl
आज ‘विश्व रंगमंच दिवस’ पर विश्व का यह रंगमंच इन हालातो के चलते खाली रहने दे.. ताकी हम फिर एक नई शुरुवात कर स्वस्थ किरदार रंगमंच पर उतार सके ! सन १९६१ से ‘अंतरराष्ट्रीय रंगमंच संस्थान’ द्वारा शुरू हुआ यह दिन शायद विश्व में पहली बार ‘सामाजिक दुरी’ बनाये मनाया जा रहा है l
अपना और अपने प्रियजनो का ख्याल रखीये.. अकेले रहे.. खुद का और राष्ट्र का ख्याल रखें..!
आज बनाई गई दुरीया कल के मिलन का भविष्य है !
सिर्फ मन कि दूरिया मत बढाइये.. ये तकलीफदेह है.. बोहोत !!
अत्तानं रखन्तो परमं रक्खती l
परमं रखन्तो अत्तानं रक्खती l – महात्मा बुद्ध
(Protecting oneself, one protects others’
Protecting others, one protecting oneself’- Lord Buddha)
( No image copyright, Thanks The Hindu/ ET)
आज जगभरातल्या सर्व महत्त्वाच्या देशांनी स्वतःला बंद करून घेतलंय. भविष्याकडे जीव काढून पळणाऱ्या माणसांना एकाएकी ब्रेक लावल्यासारखं थांबवून टाकलंय. माणसं घरात बसून आहेत , एकमेकांशी बोलत आहेत. पण असं ते किती दिवस वागतील. चार दिवस एकमेकांशी बोलतील , आठवडाभर बोलतील पण त्यानंतर सर्व विषय संपल्यावर एक अशी वेळ येईल की हा संवाद थांबेल. त्यांना परत एकदा एकटं असावसं वाटेल. कोणाशीही कशाहीबद्दल काहीही बोलावं वाटणार नाही कारण आपल्या शहरी माणसांना एकमेकांशी बोलणं इतकं सवयीचं उरलं नाहीये. आपल्या रोजच्या जगण्यात घरातल्याच लोकांशी आपण किती काळ संवाद साधतो याबद्दलच शंका आहे. हा एकटेपणा आपल्या शहरी जगण्याचा स्थायीभाव होत चाललाय.
जगभरातल्या या विलगीकरणाच्या लाटेमध्ये मागच्या काही दिवसांपासून एक अमेरिकन चित्रकार व्हायरल होतोय. लोकांना त्याची परत एकदा आठवण झाली आहे. 1882 ते 1967 या त्याच्या कार्यकाळातच त्याने आपल्या वर्तमान जगण्याची दिनचर्या मांडून ठेवली होती . या चित्रकाराचं नाव आहे एडवर्ड हॉपर.
हा एडवर्ड हॉपर शहराची चित्रं काढायचा. शहरं , शहरातली माणसं , इथल्या इमारती , रस्ते , पेट्रोल पंप्स , छोटी-मोठी हॉटेल्स. असे साधेसुधे वाटणारे , रोजच्या जगण्यातले , आपल्या आजूबाजूला दिसणारे चित्रविषय. हॉपरच्या कुठल्याही चित्रातला , कुठलाही माणूस , कुठल्याही ठोस एक्सप्रेशनशिवाय चित्रित केलेला असतो. तो संमिश्र भावना असलेला चेहरा आणि जोडीने त्याने मांडलेला अवकाश आपल्या आतलं असं काहीतरी हलवून जातात की मनात येणाऱ्या सर्व भावना काही काळासाठी गोठून जातात. वैयक्तिकदृष्ट्या एडवर्ड हॉपरची चित्र मला गायतोंडेंच्या चित्रानुभवाशी नातं सांगणारी वाटतात. एकाग्रतेने पाहत असल्यास गायतोंडेंची चित्र ही तुम्हाला तुमच्या आदिम शांततेशी नेऊन पोहोचवतात , त्याचपद्धतीने हॉपरदेखील त्या आदिम एकटेपणाच्या भावनेशी नातं जोडतो.
इंग्रजीमध्ये ecstasy असा एक शब्द आहे. या शब्दामागे अभिप्रेत असणारा ‘ आनंद ‘ आपण कुठल्याही थुकरट , रोजच्या जगण्यातल्या साध्यासुध्या अनुभवाशी जोडू शकत नाही. ह्या शब्दातून अभिप्रेत असणारा ‘ आनंद ' हा दैवी आहे. तो मांडण्याजोगा नाही. हॉपरच्या चित्रांमधूनही अशीच एक भावना तयार होते. ती शब्दात मांडल्या जाऊ शकत नाही. त्याच्या चित्रातून दिसणारा एकटेपणा हा समाजात रोज वावरताना आपल्याला एकमेकांप्रती असणारा तुसडेपणा नाही किंवा आपल्याला सभोवतालातून वेगळा करणारा एकटेपणा नाही. त्याच्या चित्रातला हा एकांत तुमच्या आतला आहे , आदिम आहे , मूळ आहे. हा एकांत तुमच्या जन्मापासून तुम्ही तुमच्या आत वाढवलेला आहे. रोजच्या जगण्यात हा एकांत जाणवत नाही , तो अवचित बाहेर येतो आणि आपल्या एकटं असण्याची आपल्याला करकरीत जाणीव करून देतो.
आपल्या आयुष्यात असे तुरळक क्षण येतात जिथे आपल्याला खरोखरी मनापासून वाटतं की आपण पूर्ण एकटे आहोत. एडवर्ड हॉपर मला त्या अवचित उगवणाऱ्या क्षणांना मूर्त रूप देणारा चित्रकार वाटतो.
- Charudatt Pande
Pune - 2020
image google no copyright
Sunday, 15 March 2020
Thursday, 12 March 2020
“I believe that in painting, everything should come out of a complete need. Color should only be used when totally necessary.”
Mehlli Gobhai, born in Mumbai in 1931, completed his undergraduate education at St. Xavier's College. He then trained as an artist at the Royal College of Art in London, and the Art Students League and the Pratt Graphic Center in New York. For twenty years after his studies, he lived and worked out of New York. His first major show titled Marking Black was exhibited at the Bronx Museum, where he showed 5 canvases alongside artists like Richard Serra, Sean Scully and Larry Bell. Gobhai returned to Mumbai in the late 1980s.
|Untitled-14,mixed media on paper, 51.5 x 66 inches, 2010|
Image Courtesy: Chemould Prescott Road
In his studio, in Mumbai, are found objects from his farm in Gholvad, dried coconuts to dolphin skull. “In my work, like nature, there is a compulsion towards the ‘axis mundi’. It is like the spinal cord – something derived from nature. The human body is an architectural feat. Through my anatomy study and my work, it has brought me the closest I have come to a sense of truth and a grand design.” says Gobhai whilst describing his work, using the term ‘organic geometry’, for its shimmering vibrancy. “The sense of aging and transformation of an organic form, and morphing it into something new appeals to me.” Even across a room, Gobhai’s geometric abstractions seem to emit a sub-audible hum. Their energy is so high that their physical boundaries appear permeable; they easily charge a space substantially larger than the four constructed canvases that they are painted on and the fourteen works on paper that completely fill the large rooms of Chemould Prescott Road.
As with most abstract painting, it may be fairly easy to describe what the paintings look like – repetitive geometric patterns rendered in an essentially earth-toned palette – yet nearly impossible to describe the aesthetic of their visceral impact. What exactly does a radiating starburst or proto hound-tooth pattern mean anyway? No matter the intricacy, how does one discuss a painting of a shape?
Untitled-2 mixed media on constructed canvas, 60 x 60 inches, 2010
Image Courtesy: Chemould Prescott Road
In looking for a conceptual foothold, where no overt narrative presents itself, how natural, how tempting to contemplate the physical origin of the artworks. Indeed, close inspection of Gobhai’s paintings makes for an intriguing exploration. Gobhai’s abstractions are not intentionally obfuscated nor are they apparent descriptive imperative. Absent, more overt rational as these, there might be a reasonable and strong inclination on the viewer’s part to assume that Gobhai’s painting exits solely as an outlet for his need to apply paint in the most painstaking way possible. It is at this point; one might begin to wonder if the artist is engaged in obsessive-compulsive behavior that, only incidentally, results in an artwork. No doubt that for the layman, Gobhai’s process must seem physically redundant and numbingly time consuming; for most people it is close to impossible to imagine sitting down and laying application, removal and addition of layers of acrylic, charcoal, graphite, zinc, aluminum powder and pastel one after the other, that add up to make a single painting.
Although, it might be tempting to deconstruct Gobhai’s process and even, on a certain level, gain insights into the work by doing so, it is imperative not to lose sight of the seductiveness of the object itself. If we become obsessed with the process over the impact, then it is easy to be overwhelmed by the marks without keeping a fix as Gobhai does on their functionality. With attention to the intricacies of material, construction and placement, Mehlli Gobhai’s constructed canvases form an intriguing symbolic system. Gobhai mixes monochromatic and minimal styles with expressive use of color and form. His work is permeated by a powerful sense of the uncanny; he infuses textures and images with a dramatic, atmospheric charge.
Evoking a magical and emotive experience of time, place, and action, Gobhai both romances and unsettles the viewer with a sense of both revelation and mystery. He arranges elements in ways that privilege texture and tactility. With a theatrical flair reminiscent of Duchamp, he explores the social and personal implications of mixing abstraction and figuration.
(Abhijeet Gondkar is an independent writer and curator based in Mumbai. The above excerpts are from review of Mehlli Gobhai’s solo show at Chemould Prescott Road in 2011)
"DON'T ASK ME ABOUT COLOUR" - Mehlli Gobhai, A Retrospective
Curated by Nancy Adajania & Ranjit Hoskote
6 March – 25 April, 2020
National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai
Friday, 6 March 2020
Wednesday, 4 March 2020
Saturday, 29 February 2020
“The Accidental Jacket” includes a new series of paintings that anticipates Pratik Ghaisas’s playful studies of personal identity; he delivers a deeply felt experience of human absence in a new installation of exquisite subtlety. Each work is meticulously crafted to its own emotional note. Beautiful and rich in associative resonance, the piece eviscerates abstraction and lodges right in the bones. Between the moments of tenderness and the undertow of anguish, the form pulsates with the full spectrum of human emotion. Circling its exterior, its outermost arm forming a closed ring, we’re barred from entering; we become empathic onlookers of the whole human drama.
|Artist : Pratik Ghaisas|
Artists of the previous generation, the Pop painters and Minimalists, who came of age in the 1960s, defined the unity of their concerns by creating distinctive visual styles a Warhol, like a Lichtenstein or a Donald Judd, is unmistakably their personal product. What links these visually varied early works together is what might best be called a consciously eccentric poetic sensibility, his irony-laced fascination with unexpected sensory pleasures. One basic, longstanding rule governing the visual arts is that pictures and words tell stories in essentially different ways, and so should not be mixed together. That the human mind can conceive of a nothing as a something is an extraordinary feat of intellectual abstraction.
Gazing down across the form suggestive of our galactic home, we’re led to consider our predicament in the universe. Bound inside time, acutely aware of our own smallness and finitude and yet feeling ourselves and those we love to be as large as the world, we live in eternal incongruity with our indifferent cosmos. The economy of means with which Ghaisas is able to evoke such ultimate questions is remarkable. Indeed, his use of a metonymically implied personal space to conjure the universal charges, the work with the kind of condensed expression we expect of great poetry. The human mind may be able to grasp negation between the abstract and the reasoning faculty founders when it comes to its own. Perhaps it’s only with the language of poetry that we can think the unthinkable and, if not exactly accept the unacceptable, dare to feel the flame in all its intensity.
Though there all along, the issue of using a shaped support came into particular focus during the 1960s as an emphasis on both the painting as object, its unnecessary privileging of easel painting and ultimately the expendability of using only a single rectangle. In the current series the artist brings together and explores the possibilities of a shaped support as an optional formal development. But gone today are the conscious strictures and aesthetic divisions articulated in 1967 by Michael Fried in his germinal essay ‘Art and Object Hood’. There are works here that evince playfulness or Dada disregard for convention, as well as a compositional exuberance of both materials and pictorial forms that ultimately set an overall shape. That is to say they find shape by an excessive build up of material itself, or in working with one form or another, leaving those shapes to define an external perimeter edge.
The artist narrates how his father and his contemporaries were responsible for building audacious and imaginative meccas of free play, in particular that exceeded even the best paradigms. Examining the pictorial thinking of outsiders often takes a back seat to the thrill of rescuing overlooked objects from history. An excitement that is fueled by a perhaps unconscious nostalgia for artistic sincerity is elicited by work that often bears a coincidental visual relationship to modernism but is untainted by modernism’s worldly ambition. This is not really the case with Pratik Ghaisas. The correspondence to mainstream art in his work is not superficial. The diligence and concentration that he brought to his work are qualities of many mainstream artists, and tells us a lot about what it means to be an artist. As an artist, he exists on a twentieth century continuum. Art has historically been forged in solitude, and though it is tempting to romanticize it, his solitude, while deeper than that of most artists, fueled a quiet passion that is evident in the mood and intensity of the work and beyond its psychological concerns, these jackets tell a dynamic story that change with each subsequent viewing.
March 2020, Mumbai
by Pratik Ghaisas
2nd March To 8th March
11AM To 7 PM
Jehangir Art Gallery
Inauguration on 2nd March at 5pm.
by Pratik Ghaisas
2nd March To 8th March
11AM To 7 PM
Jehangir Art Gallery
Inauguration on 2nd March at 5pm.
Tuesday, 25 February 2020
'Being and Sense- Akbar Padamsee at the JNAF', at 6pm, 27th February 2020, at the Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation.
Monday, 24 February 2020
On 7th January 2020, the Governor of Maharashtra, Bhagat Singh Koshyari presented the first ‘Vasudeo Gaitonde Kala Jeevan Puraskar’ (Life Time Achievement Award in the Field of Art) to Late Akbar Padamsee (posthumously) at the 60th Maharashtra State Art Exhibition held at Jehangir Art Gallery. An evening earlier, Akbar Padamsee passed away at the Isha Yoga Center in Coimbatore. He was excited when he heard of receiving the award that was dedicated to him in the name of his artist friend Vasudeo Gaitonde who was his senior by few years at Sir J. J. School of Art.
Born on April 12, 1928, Padamsee’s ancestors hailed from Vāghnagar, a village in the Bhavnagar district of the erstwhile Kathiawar, now part of Gujarat. His grandfather was the sarpanch of the village and earned the title Padmashree or Padamsee after distributing his entire granary to the village during a famine. The family had belonged to Charana community, known as Deviputras (sons of the goddess). Charanas were essentially litterateurs and folklorist. Youngest amongst eight siblings, Akbar, as a child, stayed aloof and preferred to amuse himself with books. He also displayed an ardent interest in art that developed through photographs of gods and goddesses his nanny shared with him. The antique Irani furniture and flower vases that adorned his home also inspired him. At the age of four, he took to drawing in the margins of the account books and ledgers at his father’s shop of imported glass lanterns on Chakla Street, South Mumbai. In his primary school, he would draw caricatures on the black board before the class teacher would arrive, when the teacher would enquire, the classmates would point out to Padamsee, but she would never believe that such a young boy’s drawings had a mature finesse.
He was 11 years old when he accidentally stepped on a rusted nail, leading to a serious injury. While the wound was cured, the psychological impact left him speechless. It was more the will to speak that had gone away. Apparently, he did not speak a word for about nine years. Instead, he focused his energies on reading and art. After his father passed away, his elder brother Nicky (Nurudin), eight years his senior served as a father figure and gave him a book on Freud’s Introductory Lectures on psychoanalysis, dream interpretations and the psychopathology of everyday life. Not quite realizing what it was about, it was like tasting in advance what was going to come. Padamsee reciprocated with the writings of philosophers like Heidegger, Sartre and the likes; he believed that thinking was a system before one could paint. The influence of this can be seen in his later works. He chose to study at Sir J.J. School of Art, but Nicky advised him to join St. Xavier’s High School. At St. Xavier’s High School, Fort, he had a very strange school life. He was a back-bencher and day-dreamer who was always ridiculed by his classmates over his speech impediment. During school examinations, his elder brother helped him study, and somehow saved him from the kind of education that was doled out in those schools. Later, he met his first mentor, drawing teacher Shirsat, a water colourist, who tutored him in the medium, wines in Khandala, and nudes at a special class at Charni Road, in preparation for his studies at the Sir J. J. School of Art, enabling him to join the course directly in its third year.
|Poster done by M.F. Husain for Padamsee's Metascape show at Pundole,1975|
Padamsee’s years at the art school came at a time when a lot of undercurrents were passing through the Indian Art world, the most important being the formation of the Progressive Artist Group. He learned the academic style of painting that was popular in those times but did not restrict himself to just that. Even as a young adult, he enthusiastically learnt what was beyond the norm. He would skip classes and spend hours in the college library, pouring over books and acquainting himself with the work of the Masters. He was more interested in the science of art inspired by formal conundrums and conceptual schemes in approaching his work and would often investigate Durer’s drawings, Piero della Francesca’s studies for the curve of a queen’s neck – he had made a complex grid as if it were for a bridge. One day, he found T.A. Gopinath Rao’s Elements of Hindu Iconography in the library and was amazed by the precise directions that were given to the bronze sculptors. It was later at the school of art that he used the concept of the grid as geometry of proportion; however, it was at the elementary level. He also read a book on principles of Chinese painting. However, it was only later that he developed these ideas further .Of his early days spent at Sir J. J. School of Art, he once claimed: “In those days, learning painting in that tree-studded campus was a heady experience”. Professor Shankar Palshikar introduced him to miniature paintings and burnishing the surface with cowrie shell to spread the color evenly to get a glaze effect, but Padamsee would be lazy to do it all by himself. His early work during that year started with detailed study of heads, prophets and different couples. Padamsee’s subjects appeared astute with a pondering gaze. He disliked the sentimental and refused to submerge his figures with that feeling. This is why; even when he portrays his nude protagonists, they lack any outward sensuality. Padamsee studied French and his art teacher, Shankar Palsikar, encouraged him to study Sanskrit, which later became the basis of Padamsee’s thought process and the foundational structure for his art.
|Head, 11x9 in. pencil on paper, 2000|
After his completing his diploma in painting, he took up sculpture for a year; one afternoon, when he was rhythmically beating the sheet metal with a hammer to make a relief sculpture. In the adjacent studio, another professor called Sabannavar, from the metal-craft department, was busy with his work. Suddenly, he barged into Padamsee’s space and asked him to stop work. The cause of the professor’s anger was the sound that the artist was producing while beating the sheet. He knew from the sound that Padamsee was doing something wrong. He asked Padamsee if he was disturbed, to which Padamsee replied with a yes. Padamsee was thus sensitized to the importance of sound in art-making. Later, he would apply this lesson an accidental insight to his pictorial practice. In an interview with Homi Bhabha, he recalls: “The professor’s interpretation intrigued me and I decided to experiment with sound. I took a very heavy aluminum holder in which I inserted a felt pen. I then dipped it in ink and started hitting on my drawing paper stretched on the board, really hard. Next, I tried this on my charcoal and oil works on canvas board and had a whole show around these works. I was going by the sound. Finally, an image would emerge, and it was often said that I painted with dots, but in reality I was painting with sound.”
Padamsee was a student associate, not a formal member, of the Progressive Artist Group, founded by F.N. Souza, with Raza and M.F. Husain as members, among others, with whom he developed a lifelong friendship. He along with Tyeb Mehta helped in installing works of the Progessives and other seniors like Mohan Samant. His father had a cyclostyle machine, with which he made copies of a catalogue of the show the Progressives had put up. That probably made him a blue-eyed boy. Later in 1948, an exhibition of paintings of student artists comprising of fifty artworks was organized by the Progressive Artist Group and was shown at the Bombay Art Society’s Salon. Francis Newton Souza, the then Secretary of the Progressive Artist Group said the exhibition was a novel idea and intended to draw attention of the public and art critics to the works of art students. Padamsee’s paintings were highly appreciated by the art critics.
|Nude, 11x14.5 in. pencil on paper, 2007|
In 1950, a former student visited the school of art and showed interest in the works of the students. The senior was S.H. Raza. Padamsee told Raza that he was given third-class. Raza said he should have gotten a first-class with this work. Raza had received a scholarship to go to Paris and offered to take him along. Padamsee shared the news with Palshikar, who said he should see India first; next Padamsee brought himself a ticket to Madurai and visited the Meenakshi temple. Later in 1951 along with Raza he sailed to France, where Padamsee met the surrealist Stanley Hayter and started painting at a local studio, Atelier 17, and held his first show at Galerie Saint Placide in 1952. His first exhibition in Paris, which required artists to stay anonymous, saw Padamsee sharing the prize awarded for it by the French Journal d’Arte with the surrealist Carzou, then in his 40s. Thus began a never ending journey of honours and awards. He was featured in the 1959 Tokyo Biennale, he received a gold medal from the Lalit Kala Akademi in 1962 A fellowship by the Rockefeller Foundation in New York followed in 1965, and in 1969 the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship, he was bestowed by Padma Bhushan and Kailash Lalit Kala award in 2010. His figurative works from the 1950s gave way to bronze heads the human expression was a lifelong preoccupation of Padamsee to photography. Exhibitions have been held at institutions worldwide, including the Rubin Museum of Art in New York and London’s Royal Academy of Art.
Padamsee always approached his art with deep thought and intense focus, constantly pushing boundaries and innovating in his creative process. During his illustrious career, Padamsee explored a wide range of mediums, and managed to remain fiercely experimental and individualistic. His artistic oeuvre is a formal exploration of a few chosen genres — prophets, heads, couples, still-life, grey works, metascapes, mirror-images and tertiaries, across a multitude of media oil painting, plastic emulsion, water colour, sculpture, printmaking, computer graphics, films and photography. His early portraits and landscapes in varied mediums of painting, drawing and etching demonstrate a quasi-spiritual style of working. His oils have been characterised by a deep intensity and luminescence while his drawings exude a serene grace.
Akbar Padamsee has always been eclectic, drawing his inspiration from various sources. He spoke at length about the western and eastern philosophy, be it Paul Klee’s The Thinking Eye or Mammata’s Kavyaprakasha. He was on board with anything that helped him give an adequate structure to his own art. Never one up for an easy summing up of art, his work continues to take the viewers through an intense journey unmasking the mysteries of art, through his work and life.
Quoting Padamsee’s favourite line from the Isa Upanishad, there’s formlessness about great poetry that moves you. Addressing the sun, the speaker says, ‘Remove the glare, so that I can look at you face-to-face because I’m the very person that’s yonder; I’m the sun myself. When the heat of the sun reaches me, let the body be reduced to ashes; but may the mind remember, remember, remember… Om shanti, shanti, shanti…’
February 2020, Mumbai
(Abhijeet Gondkar is an independent writer and curator based in Mumbai. The above extracts are from inputs by Bhanumati Padamsee, Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation and further readings of Padamsee’s conversation with Homi Bhabha published by Marg. The above article was published as a tribute to Akbar Padamsee in ‘Roopa-Bheda’ 2019-20, an annual publication of Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai)
Labels: Abhijeet Gondkar, Akbar Padamsee Sir J.J. School of Art Metascapes Progressive Artist Group M.F.Husain S.H.Raza Francis Newton Souza Tyeb Mehta Pundole