"I didn't choose to be an artist, it chose me"

Feb 21, 2013, 10:51 IST | Ruchika Kher

84-year-old iconic artist Akbar Padamsee is ready, once again, with an exhibition of his works, titled A Visual Metaphor. This exhibition will not only display his oil paintings, lithographs and paperworks, but will also showcase his artistic strokes in Gicl �e prints, for the first time

He is one of the pioneers of the Modern Indian painting revolution in India Akbar Padamsee, whose illustrious career in art spans over five decades, still possesses the zeal to paint and a passion for creativity. The 84-year-old, in an email interview, opens up about the new medium of Giclée prints, his desire to paint each day and his favourites in the art circle today.

Artist Akbar Padamsee
Artist Akbar Padamsee

Please throw some light on the inspirations for this exhibition.
I have titled my show A Visual Metaphor. This is a very special show for me. It is the first time I have commissioned my works to be displayed in Giclée prints on canvas (a print in which the image has all the tonalities and hues of the original painting), along with oil on canvas, paperworks and lithographs.

Akbar Padamsee's artwork in Giclee print
Akbar Padamsee’s artwork in Giclee print

What prompted you to feature your works in Giclée prints on canvas?
This is the first time that I have experimented with the medium of Giclée printing on canvas. Manvinder Dawer and Penny Patel, partners of India Fine Art gallery approached me with the concept. We decided to feature six of my best works into editions of Giclée prints. Identical sizes of the works were used for the prints to exactly replicate the paintings. It’s a laborious and expensive method but the end product is spectacular. I am extremely happy with the outcome and in this way I am able to reach out to a whole new generation of art lovers because of the reasonable price points.

Giclee Printon

How much time did it take you to put this show together?
It took us a year and a half to put the show together. Our focus was to produce the best quality of Giclée prints. Getting the right amalgamation of colours was challenging. Often we had to scrap a few, as they were not perfect. But in the end, I was extremely happy with the result.

In your long career, you have worked with various media, which one remains your favourite, and why?
As I am inspired, I create. I have no special inclination towards any particular artform. I am open to experimenting with any medium. My fingers are most important to me. When working on the eyes of a sculpture, my fingers glide along the crevasse of the eye. Even though I am looking at the way the eyes are forming, I don’t need to.

What is the driving force behind your passion for art?
When I just graduated from college, SH Raza approached me with an offer that I just couldn’t refuse. He asked me to go to Paris with him and paint. It was a time when Paris was the centre of the art world. To paint in Paris was every artist’s dream. There is so much inspiration and it fuelled my passion. For me, painting and creating is everything. It is my calling, I didn’t choose to be an artist, but it chose me. Every day, I wake up with a renewed desire to

Do you think art and artists in India are getting their due?
It was very different in my time. We travelled the world and struggled not only to get recognition, but also to find work. It is very important for an artist to journey through the struggle and then become known. Today artists are focused on recognition. Sadly they do not always go through the struggle the way me and my friends did. Having said that, artists today face a lot of pressure and competition, because of which many create art for international markets and audiences. There are some individualistic painters whose work I am fond of like Subodh Gupta and his wife Bharti Kher and Anish Kapoor, to name
a few.

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