Eminent artist Jatin Das will exhibit a staggering 500 portraits, at the esteemed Lalit Kala Akademi this November, many of which have never been on display before. The exhibition, Jatin Das: Artists & Friends. Over Fifty Years will be presented from 17 – 22 November 2017.
Portraits have always been an important part of Das’s artistic practice from sketching prolifically as a student at the Sir JJ School of Art to those of friends and passersby throughout his career – from artists Bhupen Khakhar, Souza and Krishen Khanna to photographer Raghu Rai and poets Dom Moraes and Gulzar, the diversity in sitters and variety of medium lends a fascinating insight into his work.
In his own words:
“I grew up in Bombay. All artists, young or old, always did portrait sketches of friends in between work, over a drink; sketches on starched napkins at Sea Lounge. This was a regular practice of artists of the yesteryears… today many artists don’t sketch and some think doing a portrait is academic.
In the last 60 years and before, I recall doing portraits of my close friends, even in my early days at Mayurbhanj. My studio was in Shahpur Jat, next to my residence and 3 years back it shifted to Mehrauli, behind the 11th Century Qutub Minar. My assistant, Aalap Shah, an artist in his own right from Ahmedabad, found hundreds of portraits during this move. They were in oil, watercolour, ink and conté. Many were surprises for me, like that of Ram Kinker Baij and Kumar Gandharva. Aalap planted the idea of a portrait exhibition and I got excited! I now have 700 sketches, done over 50 years, that are mounted and ready. And my dear friend, Pradip Das Gupta has photographed them. For the first time in my life I am cataloguing, archiving, and looking at my work done over all these years.”
About Jatin Das
Jatin Das has been painting for almost 60 years. Born in December 1941 in Mayurbhanj, Odisha, India, he studied at the Sir JJ School of Art, Bombay, under Professor S.B. Palsikar. He has held 68 one-man shows, in India and abroad and has participated in numerous national and international exhibitions and artist camps. He works in oil, watercolour, ink, graphics and Conté. From his mural The Journey of India: Mohenjo-Daro to Mahatma Gandhi in the Parliament of India, to his welded steel installation at the Bhilai Steel Plant in Madhya Pradesh and most recently his mural at Bangalore airport, Das has worked with a wide range of materials and created several landmark murals and sculpture installations. His works feature in several public and private collections in India and abroad.
He has lectured extensively at art and architectural colleges, museums and public forums, sharing his art and his understanding of contemporary and traditional art forms with wide audiences. His commitment to art and artists and towards creating a sensitivity for art and aesthetics led him to a dream almost 30 years ago. Jatin is the Founder and Chairman of the JD Centre of Art in Bhubaneswar, Odisha that will house classical, contemporary, traditional and folk art under one roof. During the last 35 years, he has built a personal collection of contemporary and traditional art, antiquity and crafts that includes the enormous ‘Pankha’ collection – which consists of more than 6000 hand-fans. In 2012, Jatin Das was the recipient of the prestigious Padma Bhushan award.
About Lalit Kala Akademi
Lalit Kala Akademi, the National Academy of Art, was set up by the Government of India on 5 August 1954, and registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860, on 11 March 1957. In pursuance of the objectives set out in the constitution, the organisation functions through its General Council, Executive Board and other Committees. Lalit Kala Akademi is the Government’s apex cultural body in the field of visual arts in India. It is an autonomous body, which is fully funded by the Ministry of Culture though the Akademi is an independent organisation and has substantial independence in making decisions related to national and international exhibitions, events and providing financial assistance to artists and art organisations through scholarships and grants. Throughout the year LKA presents exhibitions and educational programmes, sustains a library, art collection, archives, conservation laboratory, and supports scholars and publications of pre-eminent intellectual merit all over the country. Central to the Akademi’s mission is the encouragement of a deeper understanding and enjoyment of modern and contemporary art by a diverse local, national and international audience that it serves.