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In Black and White: The Authorized Biography of Manjit Bawa

Ina Puri (Author)

It began humbly enough: born in a cowshed into a once-illustrious family, Manjit Bawa displayed no signs of genius as he played truant at school and, with a rooster tucked rakishly under his arm, frequented cockfighting competitions. To keep him out of trouble, his elder brother Manmohan, a commercial artist, made Manjit model for him, until Manjit, mesmerized by the magic of pencil and charcoal, tried his own hand at art. When he decided to make a career of it, petty politics and prejudices at the Delhi art college and beyond connived to smother him, but Manjit persevered vigilante-like to challenge the system and find his own voice. Rejecting his contemporaries who blindly aped Western trends, Manjit chose to base his art on Indian mythology and references, shunning greys, dull blues and browns and adopting as his own brazen yellows, luminous greens, bright crimson, turquoise and indigo. Though critics and buyers alike resisted him initially, it wasn’t long before a Bawa solo show was completely sold out. Chronicling Manjit Bawa’s personal and professional life and the myriad experiences and influences that shaped him as an artist and a man, Ina Puri presents to us his various facets’artist, poet, pacifist, singer, musician, actor, father, husband and friend. She gives us delightful peeks into Bawa’s life and his milieu as he cycles across the countryside with charcoal stick in hand, sketching bearded fakirs, Sufi singers and monuments in ruins; walks behind Bertrand Russell in an anti-war procession in London (where he also worked as a screen-printer, gambler and restaurateur); and organizes, along with fellow artists, ‘Rejects 1984’, an exhibition to deride the establishment which had spurned their works.  Evocative and insightful, In Black and White has, as Manjit Bawa says in his foreword,  â€˜the right mix of colours’. ‘Dreams and magic are the essential elements that make Manjit’s work stand apart, projecting his own language and making him one of the few completely original artists of our times.,;-Buddhadeb Dasgupta, film-maker.

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About the author

Ina Puri

A native of Kolkata, Ina Puri has been curating exhibitions and working for the promotion of the arts, in India and all over the world, for over fifteen years. Her books include Journey with a Hundred Strings (a memoir of Padma Vibhushan Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma) and a pocket book on Manjit Bawa. She is currently working on a biography of Manjit Bawa; a cultural biography of Shantiniketan, and pocket books on Jogen Chaudhuri and thota Vaikuntham. Ina has produced a film ‘Meeting manjit’ on Bawa, directed by Buddhadeb Dasgupta. She divides her time between Delhi and Kolkata.

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Bibliographic information

Title In Black and White: The Authorized Biography of Manjit Bawa
Author Ina Puri
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2006
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 670058793
length 256p.
Subjects Biography