In Manoj Kanchangal’s art, violence and peace co-exist

“Selling has never been the purpose of my painting,” says Manoj Kanchangal, an abstract artist from Bhopal, who paints as if he is possessed by an ethereal power. Kanchangal recently exhibited his collection of 50 large paintings in colours inspired by semul and palash flowers. The show titled ‘Sublime lands’ curated by Johny ML was held at Visual Arts Gallery at the India Habitat Centre.

The works were culled out from Kanchangal’s large body of work done over the last three years, says Johny, who had a tough task selecting 50 for the show.

The artist absorbs the happenings around him and expresses his experience through the vocabulary of abstraction. But making a social commentary is not a conscious preoccupation of Kanchangal. “For instance, the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai and thereafter continuous attacks on the country disturbed me. Everybody is competing with each other and in that competition, they have cremated morality. The aggressive colour of my paintings is the voice against such violence, terrorism and corruption…”

The 34-year-old artist has had more than 20 solo shows and participated in several group shows since he completed his MFA from the Institute of Fine Arts, Indore, in 2003. He not only draws his inspiration from the veteran artist Syed Haider Raza but has also learnt the roots of Indian culture and painting traditions from him.

He already has a book to his credit — Doors of Perception on his art which was published by Bharatiya Jnanpith in 2008.

As for the technique, Manoj directly uses his palm impressions on the canvas as if he were gesticulating at the terrorists to stop them from committing their heinous act. The canvas bears criss-cross knife strokes. Even as his canvases speak of violence, peace and tranquillity pervade them simultaneously.