Pritzker laureate BV Doshi opens architect Ajit Parekh's exhibition of his life's work in art

This well-known architect of high-rises in Ahmedabad is known for his sketches of stepwells. But his exhibition surprises with a wide display of never-before-seen artworks. Glimpse figurative art, surrealism, abstraction and realism all under one roof!

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Ajit Parekh is well-known in the architecture community for making as many as 80 sketches of stepwells and other monuments. People started to first see him as an ‘artist’ because of these. But to give us a glimpse into his trademark work, he leads  three hand-drawn sketches in his entire solo show of 66 works. Because on the whole, this show is about a whole new range of artworks. Most of these have never been exhibited before, not even in his first solo exhibition held in New York in 1997.

At his second solo exhibition, which he defines as “A Small Retrospective, Parekh display works ranging from an early Haveli painting made in 1981, to his latest works that were made only a year ago. The artworks embody a host of aesthetic styles, from figurative art to surrealism, abstraction and realism.

 

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Inaugurated on August 21 at Amdavad Ni Gufa, in the presence of his mentor, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect BV Doshi, A Small Retrospective features 66 original artworks by Parekh. The sculptures, paintings and installations have been made using multiple mediums like ink and pen, as well as watercolour, acrylic and oil paints. There are also dedicated spaces for his digital art, wood relief work, wood engravings and sculptures.

 

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Parekh’s digital art is inspired from the grandfather of the ‘op art’ movement Victor Vasarely, while his paintings of Havelis draw insight from the miniature paintings of India. Most strikingly perhaps, his colossal portrait of the saint-poet Rang Avadhoot show how impactful the guru’s Datta-Panth teachings have been on Parekh’s life.

As an architect who graduated from Ahmedabad’s CEPT University in 1979, Parekh has been practising for approximately four decades now and says he’s designed more than 200 high-rise buildings in Ahmedabad, including some iconic landmarks like the Samudra buildings, Surya Rath, Spring Valley and Antariksh Apartments. But Parekh was always a painter at heart. He tells us that though his parents never endorsed his artistic leanings, he still managed to not let that fire for art die out in him.

 

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Several interior designers and architects of Ahmedabad stopped by for the exhibition on its inaugural day. It will remain open for all at Amdavad Ni Gufa until Sunday, August 26, every day from 04:00 PM to 08:00 PM.

 

Photographs courtesy Jay Bhanushali

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