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Modern & Contemporary Indian Art II Modern & Contemporary Indian Art II GAUTAM VAGHELA (B. 1936)
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Gautam Vaghela's paintings reflect a harmonious union of the traditional with the contemporary. His early art education was at the Sir. J. J. School of Art, Bombay and he later he went on to train in Fresco and Mural techniques in Banasthali, Rajasthan. From 1962 to 1994, he was associated with the Weaver's Service Centre, Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India in various posts, and retired as Director, Coordination and Design Exports for the Centres and Indian Institutes of Handloom Technology. The W.S.C's had artists working closely with weavers for the development of modern textile designs, and Vaghela here developed deep interactions with artists like K. G. Subramanyan, Prabhakar Barwe and Ambadas.
Vaghela has illustrated several books like The Story of Dance: Bharata Natyam by Krishna Sahai (2003) and Another India: An Anthology of Indian Contemporary Poets, in Italian and English (1997) with British painter Howard Hodgkin. In more than four decades as an artist and designer, he has exhibited all over India and overseas including at the 1966 Paris Biennale and the 1967 Sao Paolo Biennale. Two of the highest honours he has received are the 'Padmashri' from the Govt. of India in 1982, and the 'Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar' in 1990.
'Desire-Lust' is a painting from the series of the same name, the underlying theme of which was the philosophical thought that anything in excess, whether material or emotional, is detrimental, though always desired. The painting is reminiscent of the vivid colouring and spatial structure of Jain miniatures, the central figure taking the stance of a goddess while flanked by scaled down chowri bearers. Mythical Indian figures often form the subject matter of Vaghela's paintings, with finely drawn horses, lions and elephants sharing space with objects and beings of fantasy, the picture space sometimes housing fortresses and palace architecture of Indian-miniature inspiration. Amrita Gupta Singh, art historian, says of his work “Vaghela approaches traditional Indian miniatures.… as a set of philosophical and formal signs that can be transformed and animated to operate in the contemporary context.”