Umakant Tawde has an eternal passion to depict peace, harmony and unity in nature and material world. He subjugates the concept in various forms and symbols. His distinction as a solicitous painter can be admired in the depth of his thoughts, in upcoming series of 12 paintings titled Manifesto Peace.
The paintings are represented in very colloquial manner, using native style of canvas representation, the current trend of computer effects, graphic work and installation. If Gandhiji is much acclaimed figure in the world, inspiring most powerful people, then why is the need to portray him? Of course! It necessary to do so. Shown in the painting From Mohandas to Mahatma’, is his transition from a tip-top dressed youth for a white- collared profession to a fighter( outside war zone) for human rights, freedom and unity. It magnetizes us to his personality and fervor. The painting also depicts his motive to change the external appearance and that was to empathize with the people he struggled, for viz. the poor Indian society; harassed and denied of justice due to caste, class and ambitious differences. Patience and understanding were the keys of his philosophy. His resistance was unique in its form: Non- violence- the act which was far remote from framed mind- set that a fight means arms- for- arms. His thoughts echoed and received attention by people all over India and also in other nations that were being slaved by vindictives; as in South Africa.
The artist himself confesses of knowing very little about Gandhiji in his childhood and of paying homage to him after hoisting the national flag on Republic Day and Independence Day. He then wondered why Gandhiji was considered Father of the Nation and what was his greatness compared to other freedom fighters who shed their blood and sacrificed their lives for freedom? But as he matured, profound thoughts took over his innocence, he gained insight into the brighter side of freedom struggle staged by Gandhiji through Peace and Unity. The gist was ‘Silence is powerful than words or action’. His creations represent the same.
The color, feel of texture charges the feeling of patriotism in ‘The Charkha of Unity’. Prodigy of Gandhi lies not only confining himself to minimal needs to stay alive and carry out the mission, but also in having innumerable followers following his footsteps of living simple life, wearing khadi and being vegetarians. They effectively carried forward non- cooperation with British rulers as guided by Bapu. It also indicates the rich and varied cultures, religions and languages of India in the form of Charkha which worked in unison to weave the simple yet durable fabric of Independence. The colors in this painting signify his love for all religions such as color green for Muslims, red the Hindus. The black background is the subtle indication of patriots who came from every walk of life and religion without personal identities, but addressing themselves as ‘Indians’ to fight for the common cause.
‘Crossword of life and death’, in this the artist has shown the benevolent Gandhiji in relation to the recent threats of terrorism faced by nations all over the world. The cube of plotting, planning and slaying is brutal and unthinkable. Bapu’s opposition to the British rule was serene, to combat the cruelty. So, instead of armed fight in today’s condition, isn’t it better to retaliate in his manner to avoid further animosity? To find the way we do need microscopic view of the situation as shown in ‘Microscopique view’ where Gandhiji is shown keenly having microscopic view of the trouble in the political, social and religious spheres at that time, the watch represents the troubled time . The orange ladder represents the success of his thoughts and efforts to find solution. So, for us it’s time to have ‘bird’s eye view’ or rather say ‘Gandhi’s eye view’ to face the malice.
This series speaks volumes on Peace and Unity not only through images but also through the medium of presentation .i.e. colors, graphic representations, installation and simply picking on the already existing things like postal stamp in relation to the topic, enlarged and pasted on the ply. Speaking of the use of colors Pink and Khadi in ‘Bapu’ and ‘Keep the spirit alive’ depict his journey from youth to old age, spent in charting out non- violent moves of opposition.Charity begins at home, so does the fight for noble cause as seen in ‘World is my Family’, where Gandhiji is supported by Kasturba to fight evils in the society. The couple is truly an ideal couple.The painting ‘My Life Is a Message’ is his last ritual fire which instigates the feeling of patriotism, love and peace in us.The London Art museum showcases a goat named Gandhi depicting it as useful to mankind in every way during life time and also after being slaughtered it does not loose its value.
Gandhiji’s postal stamps on ply speak of his popularity all over the world. No wonder, Barak Obama, the President of one of the most powerful countries of the world America, idolizes and considers Gandhiji as his greatest inspiration in making political moves in peaceful way to curb the vindictive aims of the destroyers of the world today.Installation on ‘Unity’ has the powerful message of staying united every moment, to face the threat that universe is facing in the civilized disguise. If it is let loose, the price will be lives of thousands of innocents. It voices the message that, not only the birds of same feathers should folk together, but it’s time for all the birds with different feathers to folk together.
Umakant’s topic and its presentation is a wordless library with thoughts as books and rumination of it is to strengthen the knowledge.
Still there is so much to ponder over this great personality. “Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such a one as this (Mahatma Gandhi) ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”- Albert Einstein. Article by – Pankaja JK 2010