'I have returned to Banaras over the years to seek new directions in both my life and my art. In its many layered, thickly textured reality, all contradictions are resolved.'
Banaras, the religious capital of India, has fascinated Manu Parekh, one f India's leading modern painters, ever since his first visit there in 1979. Over the next decade and a half, he kept returning to Banaras and produced a series of works in which he has attempted to capture the essence of the world's oldest living city, a sacred place where the mundane and the sublime coexist. The ghats where the faithful gather and the funeral pyres blaze; the narrow, busy lanes where everyday life carries on; the boats ferrying pilgrims on the Ganga; evening lights in the shrines by the river - all these provide the images and symbols that Manu Parekh uses to create powerful and dramatic compositions.
This picture book brings together, for the first time, seventy-five paintings from Manu Parekh's Banaras series. Showcasing some of the artist's best work, this beautifully produced volume is a collector's edition.
About the Author:
Manu Parekh is among India's best-known contemporary artists. He received his diploma in Drawing and Painting from Sri J.J. School of Art, Mumbai in 1962, and has held several solo shows and participated in a number of group exhibitions since. He has been Member of the Society of Contemporary Artists, Kolkata; Member of the General Council, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi; and Member of the Advisory Committee, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi. He was awarded the Padma Shree in 1992.
Excerpts from Review:
Our pleasure in the Banaras series by Manu Parekh is the deepened awareness we gain from the painter's personal, visual experience of that holy city: the searing fires, the lights that emanate at night from the temples, the sunset reflected in the mysterious waters. Painting has value when it conveys emotions that words cannot express. Literalness in painting has its limits, because paintings are built with forms, not bricks. Emotion can only be expressed emphatically. Manu Parekh's slashing brush strokes are a painter's way of saying, I made this, Nature used thunder and lightning for the same purpose.
Manu Parekh, born in 1939, is the foremost expressionist in contemporary Indian painting. Parekh's paintings break all the rules, sometimes reducing riotous colours to black and white, or making a city on a river plain into a kind of mountain. Whether his sense of space is innate, or due to the differences between Indian pictorial perspective and Western one-point [or 'photographic'] perspective, I cannot say, but these compositions have the capacity to astonish. Those who know Banaras say that this is how it is; this is how they remember it. Those who have not been there yet, including myself, feel that we now know something of the journey.
John T. SpikeDirector, Florence International Biennial of Contemporary Art Florence, Italy.
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