Wings of vivacity, now rests in peace : artist Mahendra Kadia passes away

A fine heart of fine art – artist Mahendra Kadia breathed his last on the early hours of January 17, 2019. The veteran artist is known for his vast repertoire of work which largely focuses on exploration of freedom, velocity and vivacity of birds. Kadia served as Honorary Director of Hutheesing Centre. He showcased his retrospective art show last year during January 2018. Team CY pays heartfelt homage to the artist.

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I had the good fortune of witnessing and reviewing artist Mahendra Kadia’s gargantuan retrospective ‘Lines to Strokes’, which happened in Ahmedabad in January 2018. The show and the experience has left an ineffable mark on my mind. It is through an artists work that one gets to know the artist, and that is my relationship with Mahendra Kadia; that of an artist and an observer. While delving deep into his artistic journey, I discovered, that as a child, Kadia was profoundly fascinated by birds that sat in the bird feeder at his Pol housing in the Walled city of Ahmedabad. Kadia’s father was a humble couturier, and his entire family had no connection, whatsoever with fine arts. But Kadia was destined for arts and his persistence led him to the field of lines, colour and strokes.

Mahendra Kadia‘s life is an unconventional journey of an artist finding his life’s purpose through the process of art, this is reflected in the way his artistic style has emerged over the last 4 decades. From clear lines his style moved towards abstraction and eventually it completely evolved into free flowing strokes that depict the human pursuit of liberation and tranquility.

Kadia has always been open to learning. In his early days he found mentorship in celebrated artist-sculptor Piraji Sagara. Later he joined Sheth CN College of Fine Arts in Ahmedabad. Here formal education coupled with his own keenness led him to put hundreds of hours of practice and hardwork to evolve his unique artistic style. His realistic figuration of birds started fluttering in untamed motion on canvas to take the form of controlled lines. The artist began experimenting with tools and inspired by American artist Jackson Pollock, Kadia used drip technique to paint birds while using a wooden stick ‘Kitta’. The artist went through a time-honoured journey to evolve his lines into strokes and fluttering and flying birds into flowing emotions.

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Mahendra Kadia at his retrospective show at Hutheesing Centre (file photo)

Kadia has also served as a professor at the CN College of Fine Arts. He is also popular as the face of L & P Hutheesing Visual Art Centre, where his association dates back to 1983. Since 2008 he is serving as the  Honorary Director of the center. A recipient of National Award by Lalit Kala Akademi, Kadia’s persistence in artistic pursuits is an inspiring tale. Within his own family his influence has created 11 artists across generations. In January 2018, Kadia showcased his retrospective in Ahmedabad, and it was extremely well received. His artworks can be found in the collections of luminous personalities including Jaya Bachchan, Sangeeta Jindal and Urmila Kanoria, and also on display at the reputed National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi. The visual art proponent’s abstract birds will forever flutter to enrich our aesthetic sensibilities!

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