Breathing Gandhi

Be it figurative or abstract, there’s one subject that will never cease to be a favourite for this artist. “I will paint Gandhi till as long as I understand,” says Manhar Kapadia about the inspiration behind his paintings. The 51-year-old artist’s over a decade-long dream comes true this month-end when over 30 works on the Father of the Nation are put up at Mumbai’s Jehangir Art Gallery. Known to paint Gandhi in various hues and forms, shades and colours, Kapadia likes to “contemporaries Gandhi”. “I like to merge his thoughts with mine and paint a story. I am a simple man and I love relating to Gandhi’s simplicity,” he says, recalling how Gandhi ‘entered’ his life.

Faculty at Painting Department of Sheth C N College of Fine Arts, Kapadia has been painting ever since he passed out in 1988 with a Diploma in Painting and Art Teacher Diploma. However, painting Gandhi in the way he does now happened much later.

“It was sometime in 2006-07 when I got a call from Gandhi Ashram; they wanted me to do a show on Gandhi for his birth anniversary. I did eight works, and to my surprise, all got sold. I got one lakh rupees and it was like winning a lottery,” says the enthusiastic artist about the incident. Kapadia also believes Gandhi brought him good luck. Narrating an episode, he says, “I have travelled from Ahmedabad to Mehmedabad for about eight years and while commuting in train, I would often think of Gandhi’s tryst with the train. Somehow, somewhere, deep in my heart, I would relate to Gandhi and feel good. Even today, I do the same. Ever since then I have done about 16 shows on Gandhi – from Delhi and Mumbai to Kolkata, Hyderabad, Indore, etc. In fact, it may sound strange, but I have filled the form every year since 2000 to display works in Jehangir Art Gallery and it’s finally happening now, and because of Gandhi.”

Kapadia recalls doing landscapes and portraits – mainly commissioned works – and his first show was at Contemporary Art Gallery in 1998. “I did many portraits of important figures thereon. Then I did a series on the chair – power, designations and all that goes in owning one. For this, I also got a Lalitkala State Akademi award for sculpture of a chair – an actual chair with a game of chess placed beneath. My portrait (bust) was placed on the chair wherein newspaper cuttings on politics, inflation, etc. were pasted. Some years later I did a series on the spinal cord. I had a health issue owing to my spinal cord and I made works of people from varied backgrounds and professions and how their spinal cord would be when on job, like for example, yoga teacher, spot boy, etc. This show was at Mumbai’s Bajaj Gallery and one of the viewers who casually walked in was lyricist Javed Akhtar. He saw my works and said I didn’t know yet what I could do… ,” reminisces Kapadia.

How true he was.

Mahatma Gandhi, Manhar Kapadia, Gandhi, MK Gandhi

Yatra Archives

https://creativeyatra.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Netflix.Com_.jpg Why Netflix clicks with audiences and filmmakers alike

Streaming platforms like Netflix have enabled new cinema to emerge in exciting ways and these often turn out to be great alternatives to mainstream cinema. What makes this phenomenon possible? We explore. I’m 10 minutes into watching Nanette on Netflix…

https://creativeyatra.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Heritage-homes-in-Ahmedabad-Host-Airbnb-Guests.jpg Heritage homes in Ahmedabad host Airbnb guests

Check out some highly rated heritage Airbnb properties in Ahmedabad that are more than a century old but don’t cost a fortune!  Enjoy the basic amenities of a hotel while you revel in the local cuisine, colour and hospitality. The…

https://creativeyatra.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Shubigi-Rao-Art.jpg Shubigi Rao selected to curate the fifth edition of Kochi-Muziris Biennale in 2020

Let’s know Shubigi Rao, who has recently been selected as the curator for the 2020 Kochi Muziris Biennale, for her “exceptional acumen and inventive sensibilities” The format of the art biennale to showcase contemporary visual art, across the world is modeled on…

https://creativeyatra.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Dr-Yatin-Desai-Orthopaedic-surgeon.jpg The call of the mountains: orthopaedic Dr Yatin Desai’s advice on trekking

In this piece 64 year old Dr Yatin Desai, shares with CY his inspiring story of how to scale towering mountains with utmost ease and how this life adventure activity can shape human character and health. Chances are high that…