New Delhi, Nov 9 (PTI) Bright colours, bold lines and characters that exude raw intensity of all that is human make Jatin Das’ artworks over the last six decades a sight to behold at the National Gallery of Modern Art.
The NGMA on Wednesday opened its gates to the public to present ‘Jatin Das – A Retrospective: 1963-2023’, offering a glimpse into the celebrated painter’s body of work that includes a lifetime of paintings on canvas and paper, drawings in conte and ink, oil, and watercolours.
The master of many media has worked on sculptures, graphics, terracotta, ceramic and porcelain platters, pinch toys, as well as penned a few insightful poems and reflections on art and life.
“This retrospective was long overdue. What you’ll see is only the tip of the iceberg. I got the chance to distance myself and view the works as a viewer. I struggle with the dichotomy that I live on the sale of my paintings, but I do not paint to sell. I am almost 83, and have been working for over 60 years. How time has escaped from my hands. I am a painter wanting to become an artist. And to be an artist, you need two or three lives. One life is not enough,” said Das.
Talking about her father’s body of work over the last six decades, filmmaker Nandita Das said that despite him refusing to be labelled as an artist, there is “something very holistic” about everything that he does.
“He always says I am a painter wanting to be an artist but I think it’s actually the opposite. He is quite an artist and what I mean by artist is that there is something very holistic about it, not because he is my father, I am seeing him also as another person, observer too as much as my bias may be.
“But I do feel whether he is designing furniture, or cooking a meal, or gardening, putting a table cloth, or hanging something, everything that he does art is so infused in him that his response to everything is just artistic and creative and that is what a true artist is,” the actor-director told PTI.
The 82-year-old painter, born in Mayurbhanj in Odisha, started his artistic journey at the age of 17 from the Sir JJ School of Art in Mumbai and has so far exhibited his work at over 80 solo shows as well as at events like the Venice and Tokyo Biennales.
The exhibition also showcases works from Das' student days for the first time, including sketches of fellow artists and luminaries in different walks of life such as photographer Raghu Rai, painter Bhupen Khakkar, and poet Gulzar.
“Das has carved for himself a distinctive path, central to which are his human figures – iconic and primal - with a life of their own. How figures are simultaneously still and in motion, deeply spiritual and intrinsically sensual, reflective as well as dynamic. They are beyond time and place, embedded in their own aura,” curator Shashibala wrote in a note.
The retrospective show will come to an end on Jan 7, 2024. PTI MAH BK RDS RDS