Emami Art to present School, a solo exhibition of India’s Renaissance man, the late Dashrath Patel

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Emami Art, part of the reputed Emami Group of companies, is proud to announce its upcoming exhibition School, a solo exhibition of the late Dashrath Patel, to open on 13 September 2018.

Curated by Pinakin Patel, the exhibition presents a wide selection of Dashrath Patel’s line drawings, ceramics, photographs and collages from 1930s – 2000 tracing his artistic journey across mediums and types.

Even though each medium and its imagery were perfectly evolved, he resisted the need to formalise that particular body of work as ‘his style’, and risk being typecast or iconified. His work was his ‘search’ and he actively followed that ideology.

Despite the breadth of his work, the one form of art which was a constant were his line drawings. “He would practice every morning and believed this was as crucial as a ‘riyaz’ for a singer. He described his drawings by saying ‘my line is a dot that goes for a walk”, says Pinakin Patel.

The exhibition particularly explores Dashrath’s photography, a medium for which is he not well known. The story goes that during his show at Galerie Barbizon, Paris, a man (Henri Cartier-Bresson) walked in and having seen his show told Dashrath that he thought he might have a way with photography, and gave him a camera to photograph the streets of Paris for the next two weeks. Two weeks later when Cartier-Bresson placed Dashrath’s photographs next to his, neither could tell the difference. He started off by interning for Cartier-Bresson which led him to discover his talent for photography which in his earlier days had not been of interest.

Dashrath Patel was a contemporary of modern masters Tyeb Mehta, M. F. Husain, S. H. Raza and V. S. Gaitonde. In the late 1950s, they all worked together at the Bhulabhai Desai Memorial studios in Bombay and early in his career he exhibited alongside them. He was the first Director of Design & Education at the National Institute of Design, (NID Ahmedabad) and was closely associated with the Institute for a period of nineteen formative years. During this period he interacted closely with arts stalwarts such as Charles Eames, Louis Kahn, George Nakashima, Buckminster Fuller, William Hayter, Herbert Matter, Frei Otto, Robert Rauschenberg, Leo Leoni, Saul Bass, Ivan Chermayeff, Jaroslav Fric, John Cage, Chandralekha, Gautam Sarabhai, and Gira Sarabhai, among others.

Born in Nadiad, Gujarat in 1927, Dashrath Patel passed away on 1 December 2010. He was awarded the Padma Shri by Government of India in 1981, followed by the Padma Bhushan, posthumously in 2011.

Featuring key works from the Dashrath Patel Museum, Alibag this exhibition opens to the public on September 13 and will see a number of outreach events for general audiences.

About Pinakin Patel

With a legacy of over three decades, Pinakin Patel has explored the depths of arts and culture in this country in multiple forms. His thorough understanding of Indian heritage, free-spirited creativity, and modern sensibilities are signature to his style, showcased in his work as an architect, a designer, a curator and an artist. One bench designed by him, auctioned for the highest amount in the Swiss Consulate’s fundraiser conducted by Christie’s. At the invitation of The National Gallery of Modern Art, Pinakin created a month long exhibition titled “The Innate and the Informed” where he brought in street vendors separated from their taken for granted environment and set them apart as installation art as well as serious product design. The show revealed his uncanny understanding of contemporary Indian culture. In the meantime, Pinakin started giving more of his time to community related projects including the designing of Mumbai’s Museum Art Gallery and the Karl Khandalawala Wing at the Prince of Wales Museum. Through Paramparik Karigar, he designed merchandise with actual craftspersons to provide rural employment through direct business from urban design stores.

When not working on the multiple creative ventures that he is a part of, he is found learning Hindustani classical music and reading Indian philosophy. He hopes to achieve an informal design institute for creative people from various disciplines that will highlight the inherent strengths of Indian culture suitable for adaptation into a thoroughly contemporary global perspective.

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