Creative In­stincts

Artist Ramesh­war Broota's creative pur­suits.

India Today - - INSIDE - _ By Sukant Deepak

CERTAIN­works. still­ness en­gulfs his One is forced to look at be­yond tech­nique for they re­flect upon di­verse sit­u­a­tions that de­gen­er­ate re­la­tion­ships be­tween hu­mans.

What is in­ter­est­ing about Ramesh­war Broota’s art is the fact that it un­der­goes mul­ti­ple trans­for­ma­tions al­most ev­ery decade. Take for ex­am­ple his early works in which he lays bare the streets of Delhi and show­cases labour­ers in their un­der­nour­ished and stark avatars as poverty runs amok. “I faced a lot of strug­gle in my ini­tial years, some­thing which had to re­flect in my cre­ations of that time,” says this Delhi-based 74-year-old artist who was in Chandigarh in Septem­ber on the in­vi­ta­tion of Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi.

How­ever, one day, it oc­curred to him that he had noth­ing new to say with paint, a tough and dis­turb­ing phase as he couldn’t imag­ine stay­ing away from the can­vas. Af­ter be­ing con­vinced that the sub­jects he was work­ing on had out­lived their lives, new images started com­ing to him. “That is when the Ape Se­ries emerged in my mind­scape,” he says. A look at the can­vasses of that se­ries and one no­tices the hu­man­ised an­i­mals that sym­bol­ise the an­i­mal in­stinct of man and the cor­rupt bu­reau­cracy. Then came the Man Se­ries in which he started paint­ing the can­vas, rubbed it clean, be­gan to clean the wet paint and images started to ap­pear. As the paint be­gan to dry, he used a knife to scrape the paint and carv­ing images, and later us­ing blades to scrape lay­ers of paints.

A grad­u­ate from Col­lege of Art, New Delhi (1964), Broota, who de­vel­oped an in­ter­est in draw­ing and colours early in child­hood af­ter tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from his two el­der broth­ers and would even miss his school as­sign­ments to con­cen­trate on draw­ing, says, “Frankly, my broth­ers were so good that they should have been artists, in­stead. I am the one who has spent all his life amidst paints and can­vasses.” The artist, in fact, wanted to join the army or the po­lice, even af­ter tak­ing ad­mis­sion in the art col­lege.

De­spite be­ing a name to be reck­oned with in the art cir­cuit for the past five decades, Broota does not paint more than four big works in a year. For him, it is im­por­tant that that an artist does not be­have like an au­to­mated ma­chine but cre­ates only when he is in­spired to. “It is para­mount that there is no com­pro­mise on aes­thet­ics and hon­esty,” he says. For the past five years, Broota has donned the role of a pho­tog­ra­pher too. He says that cross­ing the lim­its of the cam­era makes pho­tog­ra­phy more creative and chal­leng­ing. Stress­ing that con­tent should be om­nipresent in both, though each medium’s chal­lenges and strengths are dif­fer­ent, he adds, “Both are com­plete in them­selves and I en­joy work­ing in both medi­ums.”

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