Artist Akbar Padamsee books a date with Delhi

New Delhi, Oct 23 (IANS) After a gap of three years, Delhiites will get to see the works of veteran artist Akbar Padamsee, considered a pioneer of modern Indian painting, at the Triveni Gallery from October 26 to November 11.

The exhibition, titled “A Life Less Ordinary”, will showcase 20 lithographs done between 2008 and 2010, depicting Padamsee’s long-standing preoccupation with figures, especially heads.

Priyank Jain, Director, Dhoomimal.com, who is bringing the works to Delhi, said: “Padamsee’s works have a lot of soul; his human faces tend to capture the gamut of suffering and exaltation. His almond, slit, or blank socket eyes rarely connect with the viewer, creating what the artist himself describes as a ‘look’ – an expression of disembodiment. From pensive, dense, intense, droopy or distressed, Padamsee’s Heads are as if a presence to be lived with each new day.”

Lithography is an intricate medium using the mutual repulsion of oil and water to create works of art. The image is drawn on the surface of the print plate with a fat or oil-based medium and then pulled under a press to print the desired image.

“This show depicts my long time preoccupation with figures, especially heads. It seems to me that it is not possible to ever exhaust all possibilities of imaging the human head each similar and yet so dissimilar to the other. My ardent search is for a look, a gaze, an expression, a stance, a placement,” said the Mumbai-based Padamsee.

Recovering from a fall in 2014, when he injured his hip, Padasmee said the injury never deterred him from wielding the brush. “In the last few months, the recovery has been good and I have been painting continuously – I have done oil paintings and drawings, even some photography. In fact, (Mumbai’s) Priyasri Art Gallery is showing my solo of very large drawings – some 50-60 of them – towards the end of this year,” Padamsee said.

Even though Padamsee is now mostly wheelchair-bound, he never sits and paints. He works while standing and it is this same spirit that he reveals when he shares that he admires much of the contemporary art work that is happening now.

“I am not a cynical person. I think there is much strength in the current art scene. Every decade has its own flavour and I believe the future of Indian art is very bright. I am myself very comfortable with technology and can easily work with photoshop (and the like). So, I feel, younger artists who are working with video art and new media are doing great work,” said the master painter.

While senior artists whose works he likes are Jogen Chowdhury, Sudhir Patwardhan and Atul Dodiya, among the younger lot he is fond of Subodh Gupta, Jitish Kallat and Bharti Kher’s works.

“In fact, I got a chance to see Subodh and Bharti’s work at the Kiran Nadar Museum about four years ago and I liked a lot of other younger artists’ works there,” Padamsee said.

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