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Digital strokes

Self taught-artist Vijay Bhai Kochar expresses his innermost feelings through the virtual medium. His computer images will be exhibited at Daira Centre for Art and Culture between September 5 and 9.


THE SPIRIT of art is a constant factor in our existence. From the dark recesses of ancient caves to plush galleries of our times, it has always managed to make its space in and around us. A figment of a child's imagination or a professional's sure strokes, the creative faculty in humans can activate any time irrespective of the medium applied. Therefore, one ought not to be surprised when the youth of our times investigate art of the middle ages or a septuagenarian employs a computer to create art. Practising art at the age of 71, Vijay Bhai Kochar's is a case in point. His urge to express his innermost feelings, in fact, reminds us of no less than Rabindranath Tagore who took to painting in his 60s.

Wall Panels `Industry'.

A retired professor from Central University of Hyderabad, Vijay Bhai taught anthropology as a professional commitment. "I joined Kalabhavan, Santiniketan in 1951, but after three months shifted to Shiksha Bhavan due to family compulsions," he says. His passion for the visual art is a childhood obsession. In fact, he was encouraged to join Kalabhavan by artist Sudhir Khastagir. While at Santiniketan from 1951 to 1957 first as student (of BA and MA) and later as a teacher he was closely associated with the Kalabhavan as a part-time student. "I worked under the renowned artist Ramkinker Baij and did many paintings and sculptures around that time," narrates Vijay Bhai. Therefore, after a hiatus of 40-years, he dares to realise his dream to create. Says he: "I lost touch with art after shifting to Anthropology/Sociology. I researched and taught at five different universities including Johns Hopkins University and the Howard University, U.S.A. Then finally shifted to Hyderabad from Benaras Hindu University in 1980."

Cosmic Eye.

A self-taught artist who indulged in computers, he exercised graphics related to art and design, once again on his own. Applying a virtual medium to comprehend one's creative potentials, he intently studied various tools and effects combating a multitude of problems and seeking their solutions. "Towards the end of my professional career, I became familiar with Dos and Winword-based programmes for digital graphics. Between 1990 and 1994, I explored various possibilities in MS Paint and WordArt software. After my retirement in '94, I have concentrated solely to create simple compositions. Now, I am working with a variety of software including Coral Photopaint and Painter, Paint Shop Pro, Illustrator, Photoshop, etc."

Further sustained and serious effort to explore creative possibilities of the digital medium was made by him during 1998 of which 70 works will be exhibited during his first formal solo exhibition at Daira.

His view of his work is thus: "The originality and creativity of expression are achievable on digital canvas. In some respects, the digital medium is more flexible. There is a greater visual feel of variations here. A variety of treatments and effects can be created or altered much more easily on the digital canvas than on a physical canvas." His exhibition between September 5 and 9, actually relates a persistent spirit which comes forth as sincere commitment.

Those who are interested in viewing his works after the exhibition can do so by taking an appointment (ph: 3319513).


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