`Without art, life would be meaningless'

Painting is my life and I can’t imagine doing anything else,” said artist Lalu Prasad Shaw. Drawing inspiration from traditional forms of paintings, his stylised depiction of Bengali men

Published: 09th April 2012 08:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 10:27 PM   |  A+A-

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Painting is my life and I can’t imagine doing anything else,” said artist Lalu Prasad Shaw.

Drawing inspiration from traditional forms of paintings, his stylised depiction of Bengali men and women often portray a sense of calm and brevity.

According to the artist, his prints and paintings experiment with form and space, the relationship between image, ground and harmony.

There is a deliberate lack of visual depth that the artist maintains in all his works.

For his paintings, the technique of tempera which involves using a water-soluble medium such as egg yolk, glue from tamarind seeds or gelatin to apply mineral and plant based pigments became the chosen medium for his figurative works.

In conversation with City Express, Lalu Prasad Shaw talks about his latest work The Interpreter of Dreams and his journey with art.

■ Tell us about your latest work

I feel extremely connected to my work.

I try to capture the essence of everyday life.

Be it the multi-coloured flowers, Bengali babus or women clad in simple saris — I find these subjects much more interesting to paint.

I am inspired by the Kalighat style of painting which originated in the 19th century in Bengal.

These paintings make use of flat surfaces and bold colours.

Most of my subjects are women.

Once I figure out the background, I start working on the images.

■ Why do you think Indian art forms are not encouraged today?

We are obsessed with the Western culture.

We need to educate people on our existing art forms.

With diverse styles existing here simultaneously, there is a vast scope for art in India.

We need to ensure that our heritage and culture are preserved in the right manner.

■ What is it about art that intrigues you the most?

Art has always been the vehicle that carries us on an engaging and meaningful journey.

Without art, life would be meaningless.

Our existence thrives on our relationship with art.

■ You have experimented a lot with frames in your work.

Tell us about your experience working on this series?

I find it interesting how frames depict a whole new picture.

For this series, I also drew inspiration from the Rajasthani miniature paintings.

So, I realised that once I develop the frame, the form and contours will automatically take shape.

■ What is the future of art in India?

There is a lot of experimenting with respect to sculptures, installations and paintings going on in India.

Artists are becoming more and more open-minded today.

In fact, I see a lot of artists dabbling with abstract and post modern art forms today which is a good sign.

I think it is important for every artist to be honest and sincere with their work.

Their art should speak for itself.

I am quite hopeful about the future of art in India.

■ Do the butterflies in your paintings hold any significance?

I am absolutely mesmerised by butterflies.

I think they portray a sense of love and liberation.

■ Tell us about your future projects

I have nothing planned as such.

I would like to try my hand at abstract art forms.

His works will be on display at Gallery Time and Space till April 14.

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