Mumbai: Eminent artist Jatin Das who is returning with an exhibition after seven long years to a city he loves, says everyday feels like he is painting for the first time. His new works, titled “Figures in Motion” will be presented by Art and Soul at the Jehangir Art Gallery from October 4 to October 16.
“A lot of sweat and blood has flown under the bridge. I am a loner. I exhibit very little now, but I work everyday. I don’t use words like creativity, mood, inspiration. I feel everyday I am starting to paint for the first time,” Das said in a statement. “I paint and capture elements that excite me, assimilating from various visual cultures; traditional and contemporary. I draw mainly human figures, completely devoid of embellishments and any reference to time and space. They are simply energised bare figures, in motion,” he said.
Das has been painting for almost 60 years. Born in December 1941 in Mayurbhanj, Orissa (now Odisha), he studied at the Sir J.J. School of Art here under Professor S.B. Palsikar. Das shared his experiences at the art school and how it shaped his adventures in the new city.
“In my early days in Mumbai, when I was a student at the Sir J.J. School of Art, we were asked to submit ten sketches a day. By self-imposed discipline, I decided to do three hundred a day! At times I would make my left hand a model in different positions and sketch. I would often go to the zoo, drawing flights of birds and movements of animals,” he said.
“The sketchbook accompanied me everywhere. Even to dance performances, where in the dark, I sketched the dancer’s hands etching into space,” he added. He uses passionate expressions to describe how a line meets another line creating fusion and energy.
“To draw a line on a surface is to accept the challenge of an arrogant virgin space. “It is like blood flowing through the tip of the nib. It is like a river flowing. I believe strength of an artist is in his drawing,” he said. “The power of creating a flowing line, without it being superfluous, is when a line meets another line, crisscrossing one line demanding another and so on. There is fusion and an energy. A ‘dead line’ destroys the flow creating a dead end,” he added.
This new body of work exemplifies Das’ inexhaustible energy. His vitality shines through his powerful lines and his unending desire to explore human figures, beyond time and space. To understand Das’ work is to understand the artist himself.
His artistic expression stems from a deep-rooted and honest interest in all that he interacts with. The effortless and sparse use of strokes immortalize his figures on the canvas. The silent melody pervades every work, regardless of the medium. He deftly captures ‘the figures in motion’ in his paintings, drawings and graphics. Deceptively calm, probably through his choice of colours. Over the last decade, his figures have only emerged as more resplendent, and as captivating as ever.