NEW DELHI: Renowned painter Manjit Bawa, who had been in coma for nearly three years after suffering a stroke, died in the Capital on Monday. He was 67.
Known for his vibrant paintings and his love for spirituality, the artist made a mark for himself with his larger-than- life paintings filled with mythology and Sufi spirituality.
Born in the small town of Dhuri in Punjab, Mr. Bawa went on to study fine arts at the School of Art, New Delhi, under eminent professors including Somnath Hore, Rakesh Mehra, Dhanaraj Bhagat and B. C. Sanyal.
He gained recognition under Abani Sen, whom, he claimed, taught him “to revere the figurative at a time when the entire art scene was leaning in favour of the abstract.”Over the years, Mr. Bawa’s paintings have attracted both Indian as well as international buyers with one of his paintings recently selling for $3.60 lakh. He was among the first painters to break out of the dominant greys and browns of the western art and opt for more Indian colours including red and violet.
The artist was cremated in Green Park in the afternoon in the presence of a large number of friends, admirers and family members.
Expressing her grief and offering condolence to the family, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said: “Manjit Bawa’s paintings and other art works would continue to inspire younger generation in this field.”
In a condolence message, the Lalit Kala Akademi said: “The creative community has lost a towering cultured figure, an important artist of our time and a great, warm-hearted and ever-helpful friend. He had evolved a distinct style of his own and had an aesthetic vision deeply rooted but open to modern interpretation. The lyricism and poetics of his picture created a long-lasting impression on viewers.” National Gallery of Modern Art director Rajeev Lochan said Mr. Bawa had left behind a legacy that addressed the mythology with a sense of contemporary.
Stating that Mr. Bawa wanted to paint the sky red, Ena Puri, author of a biography on Mr. Bawa, said: “He loved red. He was a brave painter who had the courage to follow his convictions unmindful of the popular trend. We will remember him for his energy.”
Mr. Bawa is survived by his daughter and son. His wife died a few years ago.