Overview for Pocket Art Series: The Art of Jatin Das
Jatin Das lives in Delhi and works in the largest space in his home â€“ the sitting room, which has become his studio. Crowded with art materials and canvases of all sizes, everything here resounds with his gutsy strokes. Bold dark lines that do not hesitate to take forms emerge from every canvas, bare human bodies with layers of exuberant warm earth-colours that seem to wreath, wrap, and unveil them all at the same time. One wonders: where does this energy come from? Born in 1941, Jatin belongs to the erstwhile princely state of Mayurbhanj in Orissa. His father, an architect-builder from a middle-class family, married his mother at the tender age of fifteen. His mother wrote poetry on bits of paper on the back of an envelope that she kept safely hidden under the mattress of her bed. Being a Vaishnavite, her gentle poetry sang of her love for Krishna. She died at the age of 85, before she could see her book of poems put together by Jatin and entitled: Adorning Myself I Waited for You, in the Temple of My Heart. Early in his career, when Jatin lived in Mumbai, he found out that his mother had more than one passion. The Bhulabhai Memorial Institute in Mumbai where Jatin had worked was being brought down for reconstruction and so he had shifted his studio to his flat. Once, his mother sat and watched him work on a painting, late into the night. She asked him not to sell that particular painting. â€˜Keep itâ€™, she pleaded. She then recollected how she had been awarded a Japanese doll for one of her paintings in school. In comparison to his other siblings, Jatin, as the middle child among four brothers and a sister, grew up less structured in his activities, free and often reprimanded. â€˜I was the black sheep of the family,â€™ he says, a little hurt. While the other children were proper, Jatin remembers swimming in the river and playing in the garden all day. Even today he has a zest for plants and trees â€“ for life beyond his paintings.
Shobita Punja (Author)
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