The State of Art
Artist Paramjit Singh talks about the sorry state of art education in this country.
We set the premise. Let us not talk only about his art, after all so much has been written about this 82-year-old major contemporary artist, Paramjit Singh, who was in Chandigarh in April on the invitation of Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi. Born in Amritsar and now residing in Delhi, the artist has held exhibitions of his breathtaking landscapes around the world—art pieces in which nature has been invented and its essence introduced on canvas.
We want to talk about his process of creation. He says that a process can never be created. That it develops, after rigorous training. “It’s never about the technique, but allowing the mind to be receptive to everything around—still life, movements, sensations, the gust of wind, that peculiar silence before the snow.”
Married to painter Arpita Singh for 60 years now, when asked if it has been easy having a fellow artist as wife he replies, “But we are very different. As artists too, besides our religion, ethnic and language dissimilarities. My mind has developed in a very folk style, while she has a strong intellect. I became a painter by observing and she by reading and reacting. And yes, Arpita is a better-known painter than me.”
Singh, who completed his Bachelors in Fine Arts from Delhi Polytechnic in 1958 and was a Professor of Fine Arts at Jamia Millia Islamia in the capital city, refuses to go to art colleges even as an examiner any more. “The state of art education in
It’s never about the technique, but allowing the mind to be receptive to everything around you.
this country is pathetic. No one is interested in finding himself, only attacking the other,” says the artist, who is busy making small drawing with charcoal nowadays.
Talk to him about the contemporary art scene in India, especially when installations seem to be on a strong footing, and the painter points out, “What I see is plasticity of art. The visual charm has lessened. Of course, installations do arouse interest but in the external and internal Indian landscape they can’t hold interest for long.”