An architect by profession and an artist by passion, Ashok Mody’s inclination towards the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi is evident in his works. The Father of the Nation holds centrestage in all his artistic pursuits. But in his upcoming exhibition, Graphic Exhibitions, Mody tries to tread a different path by incorporating new techniques and graphics too.
“In this exhibition, besides Gandhiji, I have also done portraits of some unknown faces of India and a few iconic buildings, from across the world. It is the first time that I have attempted to paint architectural projects as a graphical painting,” he informs, adding that in this exhibition, he has used the glazing technique, where thin layers of paint is applied in many coats in the background, which brings transparency to the background and creates a khadi-like texture.
The Gandhi factor
Mody has been working on the exhibition for the past two years and will finally get a chance to display 50 paintings at the Jehangir Art Gallery from May 29. “The current exhibition is an exploration of figurative artworks rendered in a highly graphical style often featuring reductive shapes, streamlined contours and flattened planes of colour. My instinctive urge to experiment and explore new dimensions in these paintings will challenge the viewers and engage them,” the artist believes.
When we prod him about his fascination with the Mahatma, he reveals: “I have been brought up in a family where Gandhiji was considered god. We have been taught Gandhian values since our childhood. My father was a staunch follower of Gandhiji. Ever since I began painting, Gandhiji has been my main inspiration. That’s why my first exhibition in 2007 was themed Gandhiji: My First Inspiration. Hence, Gandhiji remains a major part of my paintings,” he shares.
Profession to passion
Mody’s journey from architect to adopting art as a hobby is interesting. Since the beginning he wanted to become a painter but never took a step further because of his busy schedule as an architect. But, family played catalyst and knowing his passion for painting, presented him with a complete kit of painting materials, about a decade back.
“That’s when it all started. I started painting portraits of my family and friends and when I painted a portrait of Gandhiji once, everybody liked it so much that they encouraged me to paint more,” he summarises.