klaa AaOr klaakar

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maharaYT/ ko Saaolaapur naamak nagar maoM 1920 maoM janmao  

Manjit Bawa

Manjit Bawa was born in Dhuri in Punjab in 1941. He did his diploma in Silk Screen Printing at the London School of Printing, Essex. Between 1967 and 1971, he had one-man shows in London and St. Sebastian in Spain. He returned to India in 1972, and was for some time on the visiting faculty of the College of Art, Delhi. Later he had a number of solo shows in India and abroad. A figurative painter from the beginning of his career, Manjit has achieved a summary simplicity of figuration. Yet his treatments of form is essentially tonal in contour, closed and compact, without any trace of the gestural application of pigments in thick layers. There is an undercurrent of Sufi mysticism in the choice of his subjects - the idyllic scenes of love and peace and pristine innocence, the flute- playing Krishna and the cattle, predatory animals and men appearing together. The main charm of his paintings is the sense-saturating expanse of colour-fields which create space and define the contour of figures. Bawa's paintings also derive inspiration from miniature paintings of Rajasthan. He lives and works in New Delhi.

 

Manjit Bawa was born in a small Punjabi town of Dhuri in 1941
He studied fine arts at the School of Art, New Delhi between 1958 and 1963, where his professors included Somnath Hore, Rakesh Mehra, Dhanaraj Bhagat and B.C. Sanyal.Bawa feels he gained an identity under Abani Sen who would ask him to do 50 sketches every day. Between 1964 and 1971, Bawa worked as a silkscreen printer in Britain, where he also studied art

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Manjit Bawa's canvases are distinguishable in their colors - the ochre of sunflowers, the green of the paddy fields, the red of the sun, the blue of the mountain sky. He was one of the first painters to break out of the dominant grays and browns and opted for more traditionally Indian colors like pinks, reds and violet.Nature also plays inspiration here.Birds and animals make a constant appearance in his paintings, either alone or in human company.He has painted Krishna with a flute, surrounded by dogs and not by cows as mythological paintings depict him. Besides these, figures of Kali and Shiva dominate Bawa's canvases; "they are the icons of my country," he feels. If Bawa is known for his vibrant paintings, he is also known for his love of spirituality, and particularly of Sufi philosophy.

 

Manjit Bawa was born in Dhuri in Punjab in 194 1, studied at the College of Art. Delhi, and did his diploma at the London School of Printing, Essex in Silk Screen-Printing. From 1967 to'71 he worked in London as a silk screen printer. A figurative painter from the beginning of his career. Manjit has achieved a summary simplicity of figuration, which is remotely reminiscent of Kalighat Pat's and linear flow and modernist remolding of form we find in Jogen Choudhury. Yet his treatments of form is essentially tonal in contour closed and compact, without any trace of the gestural application of pigments in thick layers, unlike the mode mist practice. Perhaps the delicately graded tonalities possible in silk serene forming opened a new possibility of treating form and colour for Manjit, who worked it out in oil, giving his paintings an extra smooth porcelain glow. There is an undercurrent of Sufi mysticism in the choice of his subjects the idyllic scenes of love and peace and pristine innocence, the flute- playing Krishna and the cattle, predatory animals and men appearing together, etc. Manjit not use landscape elements, although his pictorial space is flat he defines the figure's positions by visually relating them at different distances. The main charm of his paintings is the sense -saturating expanse of colour-fields which create space and define the contour of figures. During 1967-7 1, Manjit had one-man shows in London and St.Sebastian in Spain. He returned to India in 1972, and was for some time on the visiting faculty of the College of Art, Delhi. Later he had a number of solo shows in India and abroad and participated in 'Contemporary Indian Art' at the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 1982, "Modem Indian Painting' at Hirschom Museum, Washington D.C in 1982, 'Contemporary Indian Art' at the Grey Art Gallery, New York, in 1986, and 'Coup de Coeur' at Halles de Ulle, Geneva, 1987., Manjit Bawa lives and works in New Delhi. 

Manjit Bawa's palette now yields sketches
Deepa Kozhisseri
Jan 08, 2001 17:35 Hrs (IST)

New Delhi: Simple sketches of beast and man woven with Hindu mythological figures and Sufi legends are the stuff of renowned Indian artist Manjit Bawa's palette.

"My works spring from my imagination, they speak of environment and of myths in which beasts serve as vahanas (vehicles) of the gods," said Bawa, India's foremost figurative artist, whose exhibition of sketches opened in Delhi and will now be going to Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore.

The latest works of Bawa, who is known for his wet-on-wet figurative paintings, are dominated by sketches that he says "are a simpler medium."

"You don't have to understand art, these works are there to give peace and tranquility -- that is why I don't give it captions," said the unassuming artist who was awarded the Dayawati Modi 2000 in November for his contribution to promoting Indian art.

"I live art, it is all around me. Ideas flood my head and I pick up the brush. And then what is important for me is my color, my form, the style I use. Total figuration that's what matters," Bawa said with the calm and precision that matches his work.

Manjit Bawa was born in Dhuri, Punjab in 1941. He studied at the Delhi College of Art and did his diploma in silk-screen printing at the London school of Printing. He has been deeply influenced by painter Abani Sen, who he calls "Master Babu." It is from him that Bawa learnt to appreciate the sense of space that comes through in his works.

Bawa's first sale from an entire show fetched him Rs.1, 000 in 1979. Today a single work of his sells at around Rs.400, 000. "His paintings are sold even before they are completed," said Ina Puri, who curates his shows.

"We want his work to be appreciated by common people, not just to be locked away by some moneybags," she said. "Art is enjoyed by the rich and the greedy. It is there for everyone to see but how do you expect a poor artisan who has been working the whole day to pay Rs.20 to see paintings in a gallery," Bawa added in a philosophical vein.

Some of Bawa's works are subtle political statements. "One of my sketches that shows a son being sacrificed by his father is also the sacrifice of people at the hands of the state," he said.

Art and creativity cannot sidestep political issues but they should not provoke people, said Bawa thoughtfully. Speaking of the furor over M.F. Husain's nude paintings of the goddess Saraswati a few years ago, he said, "All this is made up, we have always had temples like Khajuraho and Konark with nude sculptures. It is only in Victorian England that women were covered from head to toe."

"It was Husain who made Indian art popular in India and his work was not unreligious. The attack was an attempt to bring him down by certain set of people who were jealous of his success. Then it took on a communal overtone," he said.

Some of his favorite artists are Yogesh Rawal, Ranvir Kalika and Arpita Singh.

Bawa, his friends say, has been working like a man possessed in both his studios in Delhi and Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh over the last few years. The exhibition in Delhi featured only around one-tenth of his collection.

"I do a lot of homework before I start painting. Working on large sheets of canvas can also be very physically exhausting," he said.