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Manjit Bawa View Artworks of Manjit Bawa Back to Artist

Born in Dhuri, Punjab, Manjit Bawa studied at Delhi Polytechnic from 1958-63 under eminent artist-teachers Somnath Hore, Dhanraj Bhagat and B. C. Sanyal. He then lived in England from 1964-71 as a silkscreen printer and studied painting. Upon his return, he taught at Delhi’s College of Art from 1975-77. It was then that be began to discover his identity as an artist.

Manjit Bawa’s artistic inspiration is rooted in the fabric of Indian culture. The artist deliberately didn’t want to be a part of the Eurocentric cannon by painting in a Europe derived style. This quest for evolving a unique identity, independent of western style of painting led Manjit Bawa into the treasure trove of sources of inspiration – Sufi music, poetry and spirituality. Inspired by these, he began exploring Indian mythology, love legends and folk tales for themes. The influence of Sufi elements can be seen on his signature rounded forms suspended against rich flat grounds. The vibrant and levelly colour palette brimming with reds, oranges, yellows, greens and blues was also a quintessential Indian element. Nature too was a major source of inspiration for him. Birds, animals alongwith the flute, suggesting the flute playing Hindu religious icons of Radha and Krishna, found expression in his works. His works also reflect the influence of Pahari miniature paintings and Kalighat pats combined with his rigorous training in Serigraphy.

A man of multiple shades, Manjit Bawa was also a soulful singer. According to his interviews, he would spent the night singing in his native village of Punjab during the festival of Lohri. . He also loved playing the tabla and the flute. Both music and Sufi philosophy were both an integral part of his persona as well as his process of artistic creation.

Bawa established a silkscreen workshop at Garhi Studios, Lalit Kala Akademi in New Delhi, achieving in his prints the same luminescent colours of his paintings. The 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi saw him organise peace marches and participate in several anti-communal projects. Manjit Bawa was awarded at the first Bharat Bhavan Biennale, Bhopal, in 1986, and received the Lalit Kala Akademi National Award in 1980 and the Dayawati Modi Annual Award in 2000.

The artist passed away in New Delhi in 2008.

 

Education

  1958-63 Studied at the School of Art, Delhi Polytechnic, New Delhi

 

Selected Posthumous Exhibitions

  2013-14 'Transition', 20th Anniversary Show, Centre of International Modern Art(CIMA), Kolkata

  2013 'Ideas of the Sublime', presented by Vadehra Art Gallery at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi

  2013 'The Sahmat Collective: Art and Activism in India since 1989', Smart Museum of Art at University of Chicago, Chicago

  2012 'Art for Humanity', Coomaraswamy Hall, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai

  2012 'Contemporary: A Selection of Modern and Contemporary Art', prsented by Sakshi Gallery at The Park, Chennai

  2012 'Crossings: Time Unfolded, Part 2', Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA), New Delhi

  2011 'The Path of the Lotus: Indian Art', Grosvenor Gallery, London

  2011 'Lets Paint the Sky Red', India Habitat Centre and Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

  2011 'Anecdotes', Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai

  2011 'High-Light', presented by Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai at The Oberoi, Gurgaon

  2011 'Time Unfolded', Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA), New Delhi

  2011 'Roots in the Air, Branches Below: Modern & Contemporary Art from India', San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose

  2010 'Art Celebrates 2010', represented by Gallerie Ganesha at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi to coincide with the hosting of the Commonwealth Games

  2010 'Dali's Elephant', Aicon Gallery, London

  2009 'Indian Art After Independence: Selected Works from the Collections of Virginia & Ravi Akhoury and Shelley & Donald Rubin', Emile Lowe Gallery, Hempstead

  2009 'Kalpana: Figurative Art in India', presented by The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) at Aicon Gallery, London; The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR)

  2009 'Tracing Time', Bodhi Art, Mumbai

  2009 'In Memorium', National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi

Selected Solo Exhibitions

  2005 Air Gallery, London organized by Sakshi Art Gallery, Mumbai and Gallery Maya, London

  2005 Nehru Centre, London organized by Sakshi Art Gallery, Mumbai and Gallery Maya, London

  2005 ‘Mapping the Conscience 1980-2004’, Palette Art Gallery, New Delhi

  2005 ‘Mapping the Conscience 1980-2004’, organized by Sakshi Art Gallery, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

  2002 Organized by Sakshi Art Gallery, Sama’a and Indian Contemporary, Hong Kong

  2001 Sakshi Art Gallery and Sama’a in Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai

  2001 ‘Heads’, organized by Sakshi Art Gallery and Sama’a in Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai

  2000 Bose Pacia Modern, New York

  2000 Exhibition of Miniatures, London

  2000 ‘Early Works’, Fine Art Gallery, Mumbai

  1999 ‘Bhav, Bhaav, Bhavya’, Frames of Eternity with Sakshi Art Gallery, Mumbai, Academy of Fine Art, Kolkata, Gallery Espace, New Delhi, Lalit Kala Galleries, New Delhi

  1998 Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan

  1997 Sakshi Art Gallery, Mumbai

  1996 Gallery Espace, New Delhi

  1994 ‘Drawings’ 94’, Gallery Espace, New Delhi

 1994 ‘Miniature Paintings, Silver Boxes and Jewellery’, Gallery Espace, New Delhi

  1994 Birla Academy, Kolkata

  1994 ‘Carpets and Tapestries’, Sakshi Art Gallery, Mumbai

  1992 Exhibition of Drawings and Paintings, CCA, New Delhi

  1991 Exhibition of Drawings, Sakshi Art Gallery, Mumbai

  1990 Exhibition of Drawings, CCA, New Delhi

  1990 Birla Academy, Kolkata

  1984 Cymroza Art Gallery, Mumbai

  1982 Art Museum, Washington DC, USA

  1979 Dhoomimal Gallery, New Delhi

  1972-74 All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS), New Delhi

  1970 Private Gallery, San Sebastin, Spain

Selected Group Exhibitions

  2008 ‘Freedom 2008 – Sixty Years after Indian Independence’, Centre for International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata

  2005 ‘Ritu’, an exhibition of miniatures organized by Anant Art Gallery, New Delhi

  2004 ‘Realm of Fantasy’, organized by Indian Contemporary Art

  2004 ‘The Margi and the Desi’, organized by Gallery Espace, New Delhi

  2003 ‘Transition’, organized by Gallerie 88, London

  2000 Exhibited with Hof and Huyser, Kunst + Rai, Amsterdam

  1998 ‘Murano Glass Sculptures’, Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai

  1998 ‘Expat India Women’s Club Group Show’, organized by Impresario, Singapore

  1998 ‘Four Contemporary Artists’, Gallery Espace, New Delhi

  1997 Organized by Centre for International Modern Art (CIMA) at National Museum, Singapore

  1996 ‘Highlights’, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

  1996 ‘Images on Paper’, Art Today, New Delhi

  1996 ‘Chamatkar’, Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art, Organized by Centre for International Modern Art (CIMA), London

  1996 Collection from National Gallery of Modern Art, China

  1996 Paintings from Bharat Bhavan, Moscow

  1995 Curated Contemporary Indian Art Show for National Gallery of Modern Art Group Show, Egypt

  1995 Le Shosde, Paris

  1994 ‘Drawings' 94’, Gallery Espace, New Delhi

  1994 ‘Miniatures’, Centre for International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata

  1994 ‘River of Art’, Art Today, New Delhi

  1994 Exhibition of Indian Paintings by National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA)in Israel

  1994 Exhibition of Indian Paintings by National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in Syria

  1993 ‘India Songs’, New South Wales Museum, Australia

  1993 ‘Wounds’, Centre for International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata and National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi

  1993 ‘Trends and Images’, Centre for International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata

  1992 ‘Images: The Poet and the Painter’, CCA, New Delhi

  1992 ‘The Subjective Eye’, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai

  1992 ‘Nine Indian Contemporaries’, CCA, New Delhi

  1992 Roopankar Museum, Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal

  1990 ‘State of Art’, Computer Paintings, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

  1990 ‘Exhibition of Drawings’, CCA, New Delhi

  1989 ‘Timeless Art’, Times of India, Mumbai

  1987 ‘Contemporary Indian Art’, Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai

  1985 ‘Five Painters’, Turkey, Haly, Yugoslavia

  1984 Shridharani Art Gallery, New Delhi

  1983 ‘Seven Painters’, Maurya Gallery, New Delhi

  1982 Asian Art Exhibition, Fukuoka, Japan

  1982 Art Museum, Washington D.C., USA

  1982 Inaugural Exhibition, Roopankar , Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal

  1980 ‘Miniature Format’, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi

  1979 ‘Serigraphs’, Alliance Francaise, New Delhi

  1979 ‘Indian Art Today’, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi

  1979 Inaugural Exhibition, ‘Roopankar’, Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal

  1978 ‘Gallery 26 / Artists Forum', New Delhi

  1977 Natraj Gallery, New Delhi

  1977 ‘Art India 77’, Lalit Kala Gallery, New Delhi

  1977 ‘Pictorial Space’, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi

  1977 ‘Gallery 26 / Artists forum', New Delhi

  1977 Indian Art Today, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, Chennai, Calcutta Art Museum, Washington DC

  1977 Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

  1977 Twenty Artists, Shridharani Gallery, New Delhi

  1976 Shridharani Gallery, New Delhi

  1972-74 All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS), New Delhi

  1970 Private Gallery, San Sebastian, Spain

  1969 Terrace, London

  1963 Shilpi Chakra, New Delhi

  1962 Government College of Art, Ludhiana

  1962-63 ‘The Six’, All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS), New Delhi

  1961 Indian Seminar of Art, Ambala

Joint Exhibitions

  2005 ‘In Transit III’, With Ravinder Reddy, organized by Sakshi Gallery at Alexander Ochs Galleries, Berlin

  1994 ‘Colored Pencils’, Gallery Espace, New Delhi

Participations

  2008-09 ‘Expanding Horizons: Contemporary Indian Art’, Traveling Exhibition presented by Bodhi Art at Ravinder Natya Mandir, P.L.Despande Kala Academy Art Gallery, Mumbai; Sant Dyaneshwar Natya Sankul Art Gallery, Amravati; Platinum Jubilee Hall, Nagpur; Tapadia Natya Mandir Sports Hall, Aurangabad; Hirachand Nemchand Vachanalay’s, Solapur; Acharya Vidyanand Sanskrutik Bhavan, Kolhapur; PGSR Sabhagriha, SNDT, Pune; Sarvajanik Vachanalaya Hall, Nasik

  2005 Golden Jubilee Exhibition of Lalit Kala Akademi, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi

  2004 ‘Face-to-Face’, Annual Show, Centre of International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata

  2002 ‘Annual Show’, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

  2001-02-03 Annual Show, Centre of International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi

  1995 ‘Hundred Years of Indian Art’, National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi

  1987 Coup de Coeur, Geneva

  1986 Bharat Bhawan Biennale, Bhopal

  1986 1st Asian-European Art Biennale, Ankara, Turkey

  1986 2nd Biennale, Havana, Cuba

  1985 ‘Roopankar’, Bharat Bhawan, Bhopal

  1985 ‘Festival of India’, The Grey Art Gallery, New York

  1984 Tokyo Biennale, Japan

  1982 Contemporary Indian Paintings, Festival of India, London

  1979 National Exhibition, New Delhi

  1977 ‘Contemporary Indian Paintings’, Festival of India, London

  1976 National Exhibition, New Delhi

  1963-68 Annual Exhibitions, New Delhi

 

Honours and Awards

 

  2002 ‘Meeting Manjit’, film on Manjit Bawa directed by Buddadeb Dasgupta, received the National Award for Best Documentary

  1986 1st Bharat Bhawan Biennale, Bhopal

  1981 All India Exhibition of Prints and Drawings, Chandigarh

  1980 National Award, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi

  1963 Sailoz Prize, New Delhi

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