South Mumbai gallery celebrates four decades of watercolours with icon Samir Mondal

Updated: Nov 21, 2016, 11:26 IST | Dipanjan Sinha |

Reminiscences is an ongoing solo exhibition at Jamaat Art Gallery of the work of Samir Mondal. A master of watercolour, he has been painting for 40 years. Mondal, who hails from Balti, a small village in the North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, began his career in Mumbai with the Illustrated Weekly of India

Moon by Samir Mondal
Moon by Samir Mondal

Reminiscences is an ongoing solo exhibition at Jamaat Art Gallery of the work of Samir Mondal. A master of watercolour, he has been painting for 40 years. Mondal, who hails from Balti, a small village in the North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, began his career in Mumbai with the Illustrated Weekly of India.

Domestic by Samir Mondal
Domestic by Samir Mondal

Putting the initial years of struggle behind, Mondal went on to become the watercolour guru of India. He was also involved in the revival and development of watercolour art, and is now a part of the global watercolour art movement. His discussions and works are part of international art books and magazines and his techniques are taught at several art colleges around the world. He is a part of the planning for international watercolour expositions and on the jury of various international watercolour competitions.

Samir Mondal
Samir Mondal

The love for the medium, Mondal says, has been a long one. “Even before going to art college, I had developed a liking for water colours and natural colours. It is a kind of fundamental medium that most artists start their work with and eventually move on to other media,” he says.

He points out that a lot of traditional Indian art like Mughal miniatures or frescos at Ajanta and Ellora were done in watercolour.

“These paintings were imaginative and thematic unlike the European art that Indians picked up, which was more about painting what one sees,” Mondal explains Mondal’s paintings bring alive faces, landscapes, flowers, butterflies, animals — images with a haunting quality. “I started painting classical landscapes and eventually, went on to create contemporary, conceptual art. You can see some of the landscapes in this exhibition,” he says.

Another abiding trait in Mondal’s work is picking simple objects to paint and turning them into thought provoking compositions. In his career, there have been several exhibitions. Some of the landmark art inlcudes The War, The Butterflies was during the first Gulf War and featured shapes of the desert and other inspirations from the first televised war. Let’s Rock was about urban life and the complexities of the city. “As an artist I have always been influenced by the world around me,” Mondal signs off.

Till: Jan 7, 11 am to 7 pm
At: National House, Tulloch Road, Apollo Bunder, Colaba
Call: 22822178

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