Gurudas Shenoy says M.F. Husain played an important role in pushing him to bring out a book as a tribute to his father, the artist G.S. Shenoy

Bangalore’s art fraternity would know that the Shenoy Art Foundation has just released the book Shenoy – Footprints on the occasion of the artist G.S. Shenoy’s 75 birth anniversary.

The coffee-table book features the entire collection of the artist’s life’s works, published articles from newspaper archives and essays by his close associates Gopal Adivrekar, Milind Nayak and his son, Gurudas Shenoy (also an artist) who, along with his wife is the driving force behind the initiative.

“His canvases are much larger than what we see because his vision was such. It took us a year just to collect all the material and get it photographed because we are showcasing his entire life and work,” says Gurudas, crediting the late M.F. Husain for giving him the much-needed support to put together the tribute.

“In 1981 my father invited M.F. Husain to a Kala Mela, where he painted a lovely image of a horse. They were good friends from then. After my father passed away, Husain pushed me to do something by way of tribute, and each time we spoke, he would remind me about it. He was a great inspiration. He even wanted to write a page on my father once the book was ready.

Gurudas points out that the book was almost entirely designed by artists: himself, his wife Amita, Santosh Andani, Sudheenra Bhat and art writer Giridhar Khasis. “We made sure the book brings the comfort of enjoying a work of art like in an exhibition and creates a similar feeling. So it took some time for us to design.”

The process, for Gurudas, was thoroughly enjoyable because of his deep love and admiration for his father’s work. “There are so many reasons why people love his work. One of the things I love is his versatility. There is nothing he couldn’t do, he has worked with portraits and landscapes, and also on so many different media as varied as ceramic, metal and cement. He was not scared to experiment,” explains Gurudas.

“At the same time there is so much freedom and movement both in his landscapes and figuratives. He just paints whatever comes to his mind. That’s what makes him one of the greatest painters. But my favourites are his watercolours.”

Gurudas describes his father’s watercolours as powerful, especially in the way he handled colour. “He was so sensitive, in the way he applied colour,” he explains, pointing towards a painting where he picks out vermillion, burnt sienna, brown, indigo and sap green with a sudden burst of chrome yellow.

“Despite the strong colours, the painting is so soothing. That’s the strength of his watercolours.”

Most of his watercolours were depictions of the landscapes of Karnataka and more specifically, his native region of Udupi, its monsoons, its evenings and mornings.

He is also known for his much-loved and colourful paintings and sketches of the landscapes and rock formations around the Hampi region in his trademark style, which was free from any structural restrictions.

Gurudas hopes the government will recognize his contributions to art in Karnataka, whether as the dean of Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts, the numerous exhibitions and festivals he organised -- the South Kanara Art Council and the Kala Mela and his efforts through the footpath exhibition and protests which resulted in the institution of the Venkatappa Gallery.

“In 2002 or 2003 the corporation declared that a road be named after him, but they still haven’t implemented it.”

For copies of the book, reach out to the Shenoy Art Foundation through www.gsshenoy.com.