Remembering Manjit Bawa and His Spontaneous Approach to Art
The late artist Manjit Bawa enjoyed spontaneously drawing his compositions without any definition of their utility within the scheme of painting and considered drawing an integral process in his practice. These drawings would naturally evolve into oil paintings.
The artist described his drawings to be “a more effective medium, easily capturing the movement and expression of the subject… While the rough sketches, often just strong lines in charcoal, have a flow about them, the finished work, despite its flowing movements, become formalized and expressive of my style, of what has become synonymous with my art”.
Bawa’s repertoire is replete with imagery of folk theatre, mythic beings cut off from the circulation of existential modernistic concerns and encircled within the enigma of their own being, of experiences and memories of canonical stories and myths.
His figurations thus challenge the well-worn trope of voyeuristic or cultural reportage; instead, Bawa set out to unite disparate limbs or parts by an enchanting centripetal force that imbues symbolism into his curvature.
His playing with form and color was a hallmark of his painterly practice, yet it is his drawings and preparatory works that reveal the momentum of his thinking. He identified with the Zen genre of creating, devoting oneself to perfecting the representation of a figure, not only in form but also in essence.