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  • Akbar Padamsee
Born :Akbar Padamsee was born in Mumbai in 1928.
Education :
His ancestors hailed from Vāghnagar, a village in the Bhavnagar district of the erstwhile Kathiawar, now part of Gujarat state. Padamsee was still a student at the Sir J.J. School of Art in Mumbai at the time when the Progressive Artists’ Group (PAG) announced itself on the Indian art scene in 1947. Historically, this is considered to be one of the most influential groups of modern artists to emerge in early post-independent India. After his art education in Mumbai, Padamsee went to live and work in France in the year 1951.
Solo exhibition :
His very first solo show was in Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai in 1954, where these early works were shown. In 1967 a solo exhibition of his paintings was held at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, Canada, after which he returned to India.
He has participated in exhibitions and Biennales – Venice, 1953 and 1955; Sao Paulo and Tokyo in 1959; Museum of Modern Art, Oxford 1981; Royal Academy of Arts, London 1982 and National des Arts Plastiques, Paris, 1985.
Selected Group Exhibitions :
• 2011 'Form and Formlessness', Art Alive Gallery, Gurgaon • 2011 'States of Departure: Progressives to Present Day', Aicon Gallery, London • 2011 'POP: Progressives on Paper', Aicon Gallery, New York.
Honours and Awards :
• 2010 Padama Bhushan from Government of India • 2010 Kailash Lalit Kala Award, New Delhi • 2008 Roopdhar, Bombay Art Society, Mumbai • 2007 Dayawati Modi Award • 2004 Kala Ratna, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi • 1997 Kalidas Samman by the Madhya Pradesh Government • 1969 Nehru Fellowship • 1967 Artist in Residence, Stout State University, Wisconsin • 1965 J.D. Rockefeller III rd Fund, Fellowship and subsequently he was invited to be an artist-in-residence by Stout State University, Wisconsin. •1962 Gold medal from the Lalit Kala Academy. •1952 Prize by Andre Breton, known as the pope of surrealism, on behalf of the Journale d’art. In the year 1980, a retrospective of his work was organized by the Art Heritage Gallery, in Mumbai and New Delhi.
In 1969-71, with the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship funds he set up inter-art Vision Exchange Workshop (VIEW), where artists and filmmakers could freely experiment across various disciplines and practices. It is remembered to this day as a landmark initiative, providing the much needed creative stimulus to several young people who are now internationally well known. Padamsee himself made two short abstract films - Syzygy and Events in a Cloud Chamber, where he animated a set of geometric drawings.
Style :
Akbar Padamsee’s artistic oeuvre is a formal exploration of a few chosen genres- prophets, heads, couples, still-life, grey works, metascapes, mirror -images and tertiaries , across a multitude of media – oil painting, plastic emulsion, water colour, sculpture, printmaking, computer graphics, and photography.
Akbar Padamsee, since the beginning of his artistic career, never wavered from his strength of line and astute vision. His idiom, even as a very young painter, did not succumb to prevailing conventions. Even as Padamsee broke free from the accepted European schooled thought, which was ruling the roost then, he maintained a classical balance in all his work. Padamsee's forms bounded by the line and created from an assemblage of strokes on the surface are both real and transcendent.In recent years he had painted Diptychs which are relative versions of the same landscape.
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