Mexico makes up a good part of painter Satish Gujral’s prolific memory. The place gave him the opportunity to attain a scholarship to study public art there. He didn’t know then that he would become a pioneer of public art in later years. As he loans his Trinity Sculpture to Bikaner House, he fondly remembers how it all started.
A few years post Independence, he read somewhere about Mexico promoting public art on a large scale. He knew very little about Mexico at the time but began looking for a way to go there. “I found that the Mexican government was giving an Indian artist a scholarship, and I wanted that,” he says, adding, “My hearing disability and unawareness of their language were hurdles but because of the faith of Octavio Paz, a Mexican poet and diplomat has in me, I was honoured with the scholarship,” he says.
Trinity’s inspiration comes from Hindu mythology—the triumvirate of Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh. It’s a figure in triptych, poised in eternal harmony and balance, subliminally communicating the cyclic passage of time, as creation, preservation and rebirth.
Gujral says Primitive India witnessed more public art than modern India. “Look at the temples, he says. “After my return from Mexico, I spoke to Jawaharlal Nehru about my experiences there. He declared that every public building to be built there on, would have a budget of approximate two per cent to invest on public art,” he says. But it’s only now that people are initiating this form again. Better late than never, we suppose. At Bikaner House, India Gate. On view for six months.