ABOUT :- BIOGRAPHY
 
Akbar Padamsee

Akbar Padamsee was born in Mumbai in 1928. His ancestors hailed from Vāghnagar, a village in the Bhavnagar district of the erstwhile Kathiawar, now part of Gujarat state. Padamsee was still a student at the Sir J.J. School of Art in Mumbai at the time when the Progressive Artists’ Group (PAG) announced itself on the Indian art scene in 1947. Historically, this is considered to be one of the most influential groups of modern artists to emerge in early post-independent India. After his art education in Mumbai, Padamsee went to live and work in France in the year 1951. In 1952, he was awarded a prize by Andre Breton, known as the pope of surrealism, on behalf of the Journale d’art. His very first solo show was in Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai in 1954, where these early works were shown.

Though widely spoken of as a modernist, Padamsee continues to resist easy categorization. Throughout his illustrious career spanning six decades, he has remained fiercely experimental and individualistic. Renouncing the rich colour palette of his early years, he chose to paint in grey between the years 1959 - 1960 stating, “Grey is without prejudice; it does not discriminate between object and space”. These monumental works have been widely recognized for their rich and poetic quality.

In 1962, Padamsee was awarded a gold medal from the Lalit Kala Akademi, and in 1965 a fellowship from the J.D. Rockefeller Foundation. Subsequently he was invited to be an artist-in-residence by Stout State University, Wisconsin. In 1967 a solo exhibition of his paintings was held at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, Canada, after which he returned to India. Akbar Padamsee’s artistic oeuvre is a formal exploration of a few chosen genres- prophets, heads, couples, still-life, grey works, metascapes, mirror -images and tertiaries , across a multitude of media – oil painting, plastic emulsion, water colour, sculpture, printmaking, computer graphics, and photography.

In 1969-71, with the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship funds he set up inter-art Vision Exchange Workshop (VIEW), where artists and filmmakers could freely experiment across various disciplines and practices. It is remembered to this day as a landmark initiative, providing the much needed creative stimulus to several young people who are now internationally well known. Padamsee himself made two short abstract films - Syzygy and Events in a Cloud Chamber, where he animated a set of geometric drawings.

Since the seventies, his work is seen to alternate between two major genres, luminous metascapes - his signature works, and the human figure which he continues to imbue with an arresting presence.

He has a deep and abiding interest in Sanskrit texts, a glimpse of which finds resonance in his statement on sun-moon metascapes of the mid seventies. In an interview Padamsee says “in the introductory stanzas of Kalidasa’s Abhijnanashakuntalam he describes the sun and the moon as the controllers on time – ‘ye dve kal vighattah’, and water as a source of all seeds – “sarva beej prakriti”. I would never have thought of painting the sun and the moon together if it were not for this. I felt I could use the elements – water, earth, sky – without referring to any particular landscape – a metaphysical landscape”.

He has participated in exhibitions and Biennales – Venice, 1953 and 1955; Sao Paulo and Tokyo in 1959; Museum of Modern Art, Oxford 1981; Royal Academy of Arts, London 1982 and National des Arts Plastiques, Paris, 1985.

In the year 1980, a retrospective of his work was organized by the Art Heritage Gallery, in Mumbai and New Delhi. Akbar Padamsee was awarded the prestigious Kalidas Samman by the Government of Madhya Pradesh in 1997. Other awards include the Lalit Kala Ratna Puraskar in 2004, the Dayawati Modi Award in 2007,''Roopdhar" award by Bombay Art Society - 2008 and Kailash Lalit Kala award in the year 2010.In 2010, he was awarded the Padama Bhushan by the government of india.

Padamsee lives and works in Mumbai.

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