1)Prabhakar Barwe

Feeling the Presence in Absence! Remembering Prabhakar Barwe - by Pankaja JK
Prabhakar Barwe (1936 – 1995)
“When all the paths in all the directions are closed, the only path left is that of painting and by God's grace it is always open”.- Prabhakar Barwe

The above quotation is from his book 'Kora Canvas', written in Marathi. True to his words, he lived and died as a painter. For him painting was the source of life. Indian Contemporary Art is incomplete without the mention of Prabhakar Barwe. He was an heir of artistic fervor. His granduncle V.P.Karmarkar was a famous sculptor and his father was an artist in Bombay studio. He carried forward the family tradition. To enhance his torrid artistic zeal he joined J.J.School of Art in Mumbai. During his formative years as a student, along with the formal education he got an opportunity to work in Weavers Service Centre where fine artists worked for the development of modern Indian textile design. Here he worked along with fine artists like Ambadas, Gautam Waghela and Subramanyan.

After his graduation in 1959, he experimented on canvas by placing every kind of material that could be held on canvas to vent his feelings. It was a search for individual identity as a painter. This search for self was important to discover that untrodden path which he wanted to explore in visual art.

From 1961 to 1965 he stayed and worked in Varanasi, the city rich with Hindu tradition and culture. Here he came across the tantric symbolism which grabbed his attention and inspired him. He painted skulls, bones, stones, graphs the basic objects associated with it. He thus developed Tantric style of painting. Though a firm believer in present and not worried about past or future, reading horoscope became his hobby. The pieces of writing containing astrologer's calculations and predictions, the shapes of horoscopes, the restricted lines, the scattered numbers in blocks along with sun, moon and planets, the luck and ill luck that they brought along, their transition from one block to another and beliefs of human beings in alteration of their lives depending on positioning of these elements found place on Barwe's canvas.

He belonged to the twentieth century, an era when the world was moving at the speed of light towards modernism and technological developments and where natural was replaced by material. Every vice and virtue was calculated in commercial value. He amalgamated concrete and the abstract and made us realize the co-relation of the two. He tried to give emotional touch to the impassive surrounding and developed a metaphysical dimension in his art. Barwe's experiment with glossy enamel paint diluted in turpentine enhanced the metaphysical dimension of his art. His poetic sensibility vibrated in his works. His work clearly represents ordinary objects having emotional, mystical associations. Their dictionary meaning looses its hold. The conventional definition of mundane thing gets lost. The painting becomes subjective rather than objective. To illustrate, 'the leaf', that he painted in its fresh and dried forms in various paintings, does not have limitation of being a part of plant or a tree, but represents life, the living and the dead. The 'Blue Cloud', which gained him National prize at Lalit Kala Academy's exhibition at Delhi, had a lonely cloud floating across the sky on a cloudy rainy day. This cloud can be symbolically interpreted as a cloud in William Wordsworth's famous poem Daffodis, where poet says '... I wandered lonely as a cloud…' and discovers the crowd of golden daffodils. Similarly, this lonely cloud on a cloudy day seems to be in search of something or maybe it moves around without any goal. The sentiments can be associated to the movements of a lonely person. It can be funny or sad at the same time. The perception of cloud thus is the imagination, the vision of the beholder rather than any fastidious meaning by Barwe. His proficiency in painting was with viewer's vision. He had subtle relation of concrete form with abstraction. It gave the space to the observer to perceive his paintings subjectively. He employed the conceptual devices of Surrealism, placed simple objects and ephemeral shapes presenting an unusual piece of art.

Sure of the development that would take place in art, he was open to new technologies; but always favoured  guarding individuality and freedom as an artist and never falling prey to mechanization. This is evident from the fact that in 1991 the first ever Computer- based Art was to be held in India, and the nine well- known artists M.F.Hussain, Navjot Altaf, Akbar Padamsee, Manjit Bawa, Prabhakar Barwe, Laxman Shreshtha, Manu Parekh and S.H. Raza were invited for thirty days training course on computer to develop their artwork for a show. When the show traveled to Delhi in February 1993 and held at NGMA, there was an informal discussion with critic Kamla Kapoor. The conversation reflected the views and experiences of Barwe on use of computer technology in art. He welcomed the advancement in art which gave larger scope to artists to express themselves. Reckoning its pros and cons, he alerted artists that it should not be used at the cost of their creative freedom. Barwe expressed his apprehension of being dragged and lost in the vast world of colors, texture and image manipulation that computer offered. So talking about himself he said that he was apprehensive of losing his creative freedom so he decided to restrict himself to two dimensional and graphic possibilities. Due to these technological liberties and scope the Pop Art Movement launched the banal objects of our everyday lives into the realm of fine art. Prabakhar Barwe showed his skill in creating intimacy between these objects and life.

Evidently, his interest in astrological calculation and speculations reflected in his last creations. The possibilities are strong as we take into consideration his last exhibition when he was hospitalized. The exhibition was held at Chemould Art Gallery in the year 1995. It was a group show called 'A Broder Spectrum-II', which had Barwe's five water color paintings painted a few months before he was hospitalized. The images were that of garland of dried leaves, a wrist watch, human skull, envelopes, and a scale were suggestive of his nearing death and projected his sentience of death.

As a painter he won an award instituted by the Japanese newspaper Yoshihari Shimbun. In 1976 he won an award at the annual exhibition of the Lalit Kala Akademi. Towards the end of his life he wrote a book in Marathi called 'Kora (Blank) Canvas', which is the documentation of his feelings, expressions, struggles and satisfaction as an artist.

Truly, a great artist who taught us to be sensitive, to perceive beyond physical appearance, put breath in inanimate things and made us think beyond set meanings.

2)Prabhakar Kolte

Where ever I stumble, let painting lie before me

Pankaja JK (J.K.) in conversation with Prabhakar Kolte (P.K.)
'Art news & views' magazine's initiative to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Wassily Kandinsky's manifesto 'Concerning Spiritual in Art' is a blissful delight. Taking this opportunity I had the pleasure to meet and interview the contemporary Abstract Art artist and icon, Shri. Prabhakar Kolte. He is lovingly known as 'Kolte Sir' by artists and his students. Though I have read lot of literature written about him as a maestro of Abstract Art, an excellent teacher and a philanthropist, I had lot of apprehension before starting the interview. To my own surprise, his warm gesture, understanding and patience made me so comfortable that interview turned out to be an informal affair and I got to know more about Art of expression and about Kolte Sir in the session. Here is the excerpt of the interview:
J.K.: Good evening Sir. Sir, 'Art News n Views' is celebrating 100th anniversary of Wassily Kandinsky's 'Concerning Spiritual in Art', I would like to know your views about Wassily Kadinsky and what he really meant by 'Concerning Spiritual in Art'. Did he mean to project spiritualism? 
P. K.: It's a welcoming gesture on part of 'Art News n views' to pay respect to this great Abstract Art pioneer by celebrating 100th anniversary of his book. Many people have mistaken the title. It is not about spirituality, but about a dual effect that one has after seeing an abstract painting, one is the physical form and another which is very essence of art and that is the effect of colours that provoke inner resonance or emotional stir and vibrancy of soul. This is the spiritual effect and not the physical state of spirituality. Taking the essence of that which is material and natural and depicting them in subtle way and with the use of colours. His art was a revival in the field of painting. His paintings tap all the sensory organs. It is an amalgamation of light and colours. It is the external light that travels within and multiplies in various colours. His greatness lies in the breaking away from conventional art. He created autonomous status for paintings. Independence from any conventional bonds is Abstract and it is all because of Kandinsky. 
J.K.: What must have prompted Kandinsky to discover this form of Art? 
P. K.: Every age and generation have their own reasons to invent and develop new style in every field be it way of living, technology, food, shelter or art. Kandinsky moved away from 'decorative' creations to 'abstraction'. Landscapes and portraits were projected only in the suggestive style because like his fellow countrymen he too was fed up of the political, social and religious turmoil in the society. It was a break away from conventional art and a conscious move towards abstraction. It was not just physical representation of a thing or a figure. The paintings had a language that spoke more than volumes. It was s self realization. This aspect of self realization is very important in Abstract Art otherwise the creation remains just a splash of colours and figures without any expressions.
J.K.: Do you find difference between Indian Abstract Art and foreign counterparts? 
P.K.: I find a major difference in both. I feel Western Art gives more importance to the process of making a painting. It moves from the surface to the core of a subject. Indian Abstraction shows a totally opposite nature, where in the movement is from core to the surface of the subject, and interestingly, this surface is not the known surface but it is the consciousness. 
J.K.: Sir, abstract art has come a long way from being painted on paper and canvas. It is expressed in installations and with the help of digital techniques. Do you approve this? 
P. K.: I am very happy with this progress. It is the sign of growth and development. Of course development is not new thing or a wonder. Right from the time human being started exploring art he has expressed it with the resources that were available at that particular time. From painting on stones, wall paintings, paper, canvas and so on we have reached a stage where the idea can be put in reality within a few minutes with the use of technology. It saves the time and efforts and gives an opportunity to explore more possibilities of enhancing your art. I welcome this change, this advancement. Progress and understanding goes hand in hand. World changes when man change and adopting change is a sign of progress. The precaution should be taken not to fiddle with the basic motive of painting/ art and that is the sublime joy that it imparts to art lover. 
J.K.: Sir, do you think physical global journey is compulsory to develop our knowledge? 
P. K.: I would rather say that interaction with your surrounding and people of various cultures provide lot of knowledge and understanding. Physical mobility is a good idea. If you think that you are not getting enough of what you are looking for and sure to find it somewhere else, go for it. Yes you can go and get it, but boosting on your stay at a particular place is a mediocre attitude. Whatever knowledge you gain should speak through your work and not just in your bio data. Your attitude should be that of artistic maturation and not career centered. Your global experiences should be felt through art, being exhibitionist, boosting your stay is too bad. Let people have the curiosity to know from where you acquired the knowledge. Reading, any and every type of literature from any part of the world is as good as physically traveling to the places. It is not your global physical presence that matters; it is you yourself being global in mind and soul which is important. 
J.K.: Sir, you have boldly faced hard time and now enjoying good phase of your life. Do you remember any anecdote that you found ironic to your life's experiences? 
J.K.: Yes I do remember this incident which happened after I was established and famous. It was a time when I was not worried about having money to buy canvas or colours; it was a time when I was fully involved in my artistic maturation. A person approached me and offered me a lump sum amount in a brief case. In an ordering tone, of course in lowered tone he commanded me to paint a particular size canvas with something in red. I coldly looked at the person and gently denied the proposal. I had never compromised on my art or never painted according to whims of anybody even when I was badly in need of money for the painting material and this person was trying to 'buy' me and my principles. It was totally against my principles and situation, I would say that it was like….“When in need I had not, now I need not”… I shared this experience with my dear friend Ganesh Haloi and we had a hearty laugh at the irony of the situation.

J.K.: Sir, your paintings are unique, I hope you reveal the secret of your art to your fans. 
P. K.: It is surely my inner voice that guides me to paint. I observe almost everything that comes in front of me. Some things touch my soul but I do not pose them directly in my painting. I do not believe in observing and then painting, I rather like to first paint and then observe and feel its effect. This gives me immense satisfaction of creation and adjoins significance to my painting. My painting is Something out of Nothing but Not of Something. 
J.K.: Sir, Shri. Ganesh Haloi and your friendship is very famous. Can I call you 'birds of same feathers'? 
P. K.: (elated) O Sure! We share same vibes. He (Ganesh) is such a great person. He is a great artist, a philanthropist and one of the best teachers of the world. I have high regards for him. We have been friends since long and still we continue to share our life's experiences and enjoy every moment of it. Even though we are nestled in different and far away states that has not hampered our friendship at all. There are people like Ganesh who have been my well wishers and I owe them a lot. These include my drawing teacher in school Joshi Sir, Gaytonde whose life and paintings have always inspired me, loving Palshikar sir and a few people who are not at all related to art world and yet proved to be my inspiration throughout life. 
J.K.: You are known as poet- painter. I would like to conclude the interview with your poem that reflects 'Kolte'. 
P. K.: We may be here or not be here, we may be remembered or our memories might be wiped out, why should then its proof be collected? Always hold as many hands, look into others' eyes passionately. There is variation in language (of hope?) but hope is intoxicating, wherever I stumble only a painting may lie before me. Live and die living behind deep principle, considering that there will never be a second life to do it.

3)Archana Mishra

Friday, 14 March 2014

You age is too small for the kind of artwork that you have created, it is a rare entity to find such thought in the youth of your age – S. H. RAZA

Right from the birth till being mature to give birth to a new life, I am blessed to experience every emotional feeling as a woman. At the very tender age itself, I realized that the Lord who created this Universe has scattered upon this earth diverse hues and forms and varied patterns, but maintained similarity in spirit of emotions that flow through these creations.  This is the only reason why we are able to simply colligate equally with the living and non-living objects of this earth. Sensing this minor yet mysterious knowledge has swayed me away into a very different thrilling and spirited world, the world, where everything is spiritual and very dear. It has a spell of magic from which I am not able to come out, or it would be apt to say that I willingly deny coming out.  With times, this affection has compelled me to develop a very different kind of world by giving forms and coloring these emotions. At the age of thirteen I was thrilled by my very own, first creation of this aura. It guided me to vent my creativity in an influential manner. I loved to work in Print etching style and the period from 1993-1998 is most cherished period for me. This is the period when all the dimensions that were necessary for my creativity, were unveiling before me and I happily ventured towards my creative world.

In 1999, I acquired lot of success in the field of Art, but for me the most valued thing was appreciation by S. H .Raza who praised my work and said, “You age is too small for the kind of  artwork that you have created, it is a rare entity to find such thought in the youth of your age. Your creative world is bright so let it flow continuously.”  These precious few words of appreciation made me realize that the surge of feelings in my creations is capable of binding the attention of beholders.   Thus, I was ready to bind the world into the magical spell of my creative world.

It was quiet a different experience of migrating from city of  Bhopal, the city with abundant nature and working in the city like Delhi where human feelings were restricted and superficial. The feelings seemed nothing to do with tender and rich emotional attachments. It was like, - The more superficial, the better. Therefore it can be summed up that, the nature of city has more or less ability to alter the attitudes. And that is the reason why I was not able to live in that city for more than five years and I shifted to Mumbai, to know the nature of one more city! Mumbai is such a city where people of varied natures live and there are different shades of life, the spirit to live happily in any prevailing condition, the zealous attitude of moving on by ignoring hurdles and moving without halts and winning over failures, make its personality more impressive.

 Even after the calamities, people who value life, care for feelings and do not let emotions perish and nor make them superficial. I am constantly studying this city since 7 years and a lot can be created here. The knowledge and education in painting as well as the medium of Print that I studied at Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal prompted me to work in this medium in naturally abundant city like Bhopal and later on moved to the city like Delhi and finally came to Mumbai. Here I could experience a unique facet of life where there is a hidden beauty in the natural destructive forces and realized that it strengthens the purity of feelings and expressions. This is the only reason why my artworks created here are either destructive visuals or calm and serene. You can effortlessly hear and feel the spoken or silently expressed feelings. Even after the numerous blasts of emotions and tornados, a corner of your heart remains tranquil

Destruction heightens emotions and this happens innocently which is also a call of a new life. It is a special feeling for me to endow a character to the feelings of this city in my creations; it is as if, I am creating my own form. This cycle of tapping and knowing my soul calms me down

4)R B Holle

light radiating on the sand of shores, on the water, peeping from behind the mountains…assuring life all over this earth- Pankaja JK

Hailing from a small village in Maharashtra, Holle graduated from Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalaya, Pune. During his Diploma he mastered the skill of portrait painting and did figurative painting but it was strictly due to need of curriculum. He was always inspired by paintings of Gaitonde and abstraction was always a passion and fascination for him.

He is not just a painter but musically inclined too and one can feel his rhythmic sensibilities on reading his statement about his idea of painting. Though he states it in his mother –tongue (Marathi), here is the translated version of it, “There is a melody song in the silence and noise of nature which can be hummed…if it is put in lyrics and particular rhythm and resonance is applied according to its character , it can be made more melodious…same is the attractive natural light….clearly introducing its presence in darkness, indicating presence of life on this earth and universe around by being light of the day…light radiating on the sand of shores, on the water, peeping from behind the mountains…assuring life all over this earth…I have circuitously got associated with it and the subject, theme and emotions in paintings have unknowingly got its character…the association is like mother and child relation which could not be selected voluntarily like wise my naval chord was cut from nature.”  

Untitled - Acrylic on canvas. 58x58" 2012 
This promising artist has truly remained faithfully to his passionate spontaneous painting related to elements from nature. In his latest exhibition called ‘Place and Space’ held at Jehangir Art gallery from 04th April to 10th April was a visual treat and meditative experience. This time he spread on his canvas the vast galaxy which is million kilometers away from our planet, a part of nature which is unbounded, indispensable yet remained to be explored at its fullest and yet fascinating to us. Its thoughts and images mystify us. It a womb where millions of stars, known and unknown planets are born and it is a womb that gave birth to our own Earth, which again like its creator has so many mysteries, beauty and mystical secrets hidden in it. Earth changes its makeover with every region, season and natural changes. It is always a visual joy to experience changing makeover of nature. The Galaxy above earth seems to act as a hanging mirror and reflects characteristic of nature in every phase and colour.

Holle has tried to capture this in his paintings. His abstraction is always unwinding different aspects of nature. This may be because he opened his eyes to see the world in a small village with natural setting, a village called Aalandi in the lap of Bhimashankar mountain in Maharashtra.  Nature still dominates his place of birth and it is still away from urbanization. Holle now lives in midst of city hustle bustle where there is no breathing space, it has luxury, but that demands ones rightful leisure time, privacy. It is difficult to find trust, contentment and happiness in true sense. The paintings are perfect getaway from this obvious unavoidable stress in life. They are meditative in nature.

Splash and swirls of colours seems spreading in rhythmic pattern highlights artist’s love for music. Along with the aura of musical compositions , there is a lavish use of colors of nature like blue and grey depicting clear and cloudy sky or blue water and shinning sand, variation in green of trees and plants, red, gold and other bright colors stand for birds, animals, flowers and so on. In some paintings there is a glitter in midst of grave dark background and this is his fascination for observing clear sky during dark nights that he usually observed when he stayed in village and slept in courtyard of his house, this beauty of nature has made permanent impression on artist. Holle confesses of having magnetic attraction towards ‘light’ in nature and its shine either in sky, on water or its ‘oasis’ effect on stretched shores. Idyllic settings are the undetachable from his paintings.

His paintings act as mode to escape from social turmoil for some time and have meditation like effect to make one relax. Person is bound to go in trance and feel light and peaceful. The present chaos in the world caused by natural calamities, advanced technology and energy used to produce dangerous and destructive weapons for mass destruction, unhealthy competitions among countries and people, poverty and likewise reasons seems to have stimulated Holle to present swirls, splashes charged with emotions something that is nice to eyes, mind and soul. Installation is also significant as it represents Nebula from which millions of small and big stars are born, all of them having their own DNA and some of them so powerful that they are said to influence human existence on this planet.

Installation- Jehangir art gallery 04 -10 april 2012
After college, he fully engrossed himself in abstract painting and today he is most coveted young abstract painter from Mumbai and Pundole Art gallery patronize his creation. His work is exhibited in almost all the reputed galleries in India and his paintings have been awarded and have the honor of  being collection at N.C.P.A. Mumbai, Torent House Ahmedabad, Sir J. School of Art Mumbai, Apparao Galleries, Chennai, private collectors and many other collection in India. Holle has a long way to go as he says he doesn’t know what lies in future and which new makeover of nature and earth will be projected in his next creations, but he is confident of coming up with something beautiful and peaceful. 

- Pankaja JK           

5) Tathi Premchand

Tathi Premchand : Art and deal issue no 45/ Vol no 15/ feb -March ,2012.Like jalebi to Mill worker bones found at McDonald for Boneless dream of hunger steel- 2012

Why and how can we display a painting in our thoughts without buying it? If ever anybody buys this ‘Boneless’ painting then it is crucial for the buyer to know this because it is more than necessary to keep it installed in the mind but also to understand the depth of the painter’s thoughts poured in it. I have never thought so meticulously about any of my other paintings before this.

I am bit confused as to start from which angle about this painting. The thought of this painting   was lurking in mind since 2009. First  I had thought of making it in digital but as the days went on I doubted whether digital creation would really do justice to this painting; so I finally decided to work upon it in oil colors and was sure that this medium would justify the theme of the painting.

 I am more enthusiastic to share my experiences while I was developing this painting thought. Mumbai 1992- During initial stages I and my friend would seldom visit Colaba- Mohammed Ali road in Mumbai where you get delicious non- vegetarian food. We would go there during dinner time and order for boneless- chicken, bheja fry, kaleji fry etc. (I am deliberately using Indian names of dishes). The thought would cross my mind that may be we had ordered same separation of bones and flesh during Ram mandir- Babri mosque issue. The whole threatening issue was cooked up by separating bones and meat. Bones and flesh are bonded to each other right from the time living being starts existing in nucleus. I myself don’t know why I am giving an elaborate explanation of this painting when I am myself of the opinion that a painting does not need words. Now-a-days even ‘abstract art’ which does not need any general interpretation and every observer should have individual perception; has volumes of books explaining it and also ‘speaking talk series’ are held to discuss it. So I think I can write at least one or two pages on this painting.

recent work by Tathi Premchand

I am still trying to know the reasoning behind this painting, why did it dawn on me? A thought struck me just like the bong of Mill labourers’ that would fill the air of Mumbai before mills were locked forever.

That was the time when Mumbai was bustling with mill- labourers’ crowd. The character of mill- worker was so influential that even the motion media especially films were based on life of a mill worker and heroes prefer to play the character of hard working, faithful mill-worker. It created a lot of good impression about actor and gained him popularity and fame. There was a competition to portray the best mill- worker. I think my ‘Boneless’ is based on bones of by-gone mill- workers which are separated from the meat and served in McDonald as ‘boneless chicken’ in ‘Phoneix Mills’ which was the only source of earning for mill- workers! Ironically, the delicacy is sold at Rs. 50 with free Coke! Are these the mill-workers who are completely wiped out from Mumbai’s scenario? If you happen to go to Phoneix Mills Compund just look at the chimney of the mill which stands high as the memory of the makers of Mumbai city or the people who gave identity to professional existence of Mumbai. You will have an illusion of it still ringing. And this would happen only if you have not yet tried to separate bone from flesh.

Now that area is residence of upper-class society and that chimney maybe the status symbol for them just like in earlier times the royal families would hand the hay filled dead wild animal’s face on wall as the pride of showing their hunting skills. Whatever it is, surely it is one of the ways to remember past. I thought like this one day there might be ‘a boneless mill’ as well, which would be addressed as Hutatma Mill.
I had not completed the painting in one go. There was a long break of a year when I did not work upon it; nothing instigated me to be drawn towards it. While I started painting it again, I meet Parbhakar Kolte Sir. Sir said something very funny yet critical. He said, “Now-a-days paintings are made like jalebis .The batter is prepared and kept overnight for fermentation and in the morning fresh and hot jalebis are fried. In evening the jalebis which become stale and not sold are thrown away. In this way today’s artists ‘prepare’ paintings and if not sold simply discard them.” And currently jalebis are sold on large scale in Delhi!
I related the above dialogue to my own paintings and thought that I have made en number of paintings in last 15 years but I have not yet thrown them away because for me they are still ‘fresh’ not yet ‘stale’ like leftover jalebis in evening. People have wrong notion,: ‘that which sells is the best.’

I have the word ‘steel’ in the tittle of this painting. I deliberated on it thinking of Subodh Gupta’s creation. It has steel utensils; symbol of kitchen ware’ food and hunger. Yes, his steel has severe hunger; hunger for Art! To rise higher, the highest It reminds of advertisement with tag line, “Have you made it large”. I am excited to see his creations. There is no much relation of my painting with his works; only for me steel represents hunger.Busy with routine life, one day suddenly world got the news of M.F’s death. M.F. passed away from this planet. At that very moment the bones in my painting seemed to be of M.F.; now calm and static! M.F.Hussain lived long innings keeping his bones fit. Maybe bones are resting in body in London. People opposing him might be waiting for his bones. There is no one who must have not thought of separating bones and flesh. This is traditionally followed and prevails even today.

Bones in my painting are surely of M.F., because he was separated from his homeland like meat and bones as soon as ‘boneless’ was ordered with his reference. I feel the paintings which proved controversial were not at all ‘image spoiling’ The opposers of Hussain must have curbed sex drive for many years, so whatever they saw they conceived nudity in it. But our history proves to much modern in outlook than today.

Few months before Akbar Padamsee said,”I am Muslim but did not paint any Hindu God nude.” But Akbar does nude photography even at this age! It is one and the same thing whether you paint Goddess or a woman nude. Thankfully in my painting there is no flesh but just bones.It is not like I do not paint nude paintings; I do. But after painting this painting I realized that nudity lies in our thoughts and not the body of flesh that we see. Briefly, Hussain had to leave his country. I would stop here as the topic might get diverted from my painting and take another route.

The painting is still a mystery for me. Is there really ‘hunger’ in this painting? Once while painting this, it was mid night and mosquitoes were troubling me. While working I killed so many  of them with ‘Chinese bat’ which chaars mosquitoes even at the slightest touch. It reminded me of a film ‘Seven years in Tibet’. I felt the same atrocity of China over Tibet in which en numbers of Buddhist monks were killed. Even I was cruel with mosquitoes. At the very thought I stopped killing them.  At the very moment I saw an ant coming towards dead mosquitoes followed by many other ants racing towards their prey. Then I realized that ‘mosquitoes’ were their dinner party for night.  Did ants desire to have mosquitoes for dinner? But were they helpless because it was not possible for them to catch live mosquitoes. Was it a special treat for their ‘hunger?’ Thinking this I did not feel much bad about my act as I thought that I had become a mediator in providing them their desired food. But ‘Tibetian monks for dinner’ was for whom?  The answer is still unknown. The ants might have thanked me for the dinner and future generation of mosquitoes must have sweared to suck my blood. This is ‘the hunger’ in my steel tiffin box.

Then a final phase came when it was an apex of relating my painting to frightful reality.Once I was traveling in Mumbai local train. It was crowded and I was seating on the third seat. A family entered with wife carrying a child followed by her husband. People were making loud noise, fighting over trivial matters and like every day playing with words, when just my eyes goes on child, that child The face of a child was completely hidden and I wanted to see the face. But the face was fully covered and as it happens that we are more enthusiastic to know about the undisclosed secrets; so even I wanted t see the child’s face. Train started and suddenly there was cry of child.

The man sitting next to that mother had seen the child’s face and instantly closed his eyes. He was quiet frightened. I sensed something wrong. Another man in the compartment told to fed the crying child to which father said, he was not crying because of hunger. That child did not have eyes and ears and his bones had stopped growing. His body was not growing at all. But whenever he cried, he cried aloud. He gives proper signals when he is hungry. Hmm, so the hunger is involuntary even if the bones don’t grow. So this is the drive that everyone has. The painting has and it is the ultimate desire for which everyone lives. I did not dare to see the child after that but I salute the mother who was feeding the handicapped child. How did she dare to grow a child whose growth had stopped? The lifeless life only that breathe and hunger! Her hunger for motherhood!

Everyone has hunger. An ant hungry to have mosquitoes, China for Tibetian land, Hussain’s hunger to return to birth land, hunger of Babri Masjid to go back to Ram Mandir and Mill turning to Mall; all hunger in different ways of subject  and name of nominee.
It is hard to separate bones from flesh; when both  are born together, stick till end, they are inseparable. So also if Ram mandir is erected on ruins of Babri Masjid, then people will say, “This is the same Ram mandir which is stands on land of Babri Masjid.”

All these are the reasons for the creation of ‘Boneless dream of hunger steel.’ 

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Thanks for comment JK