A rare showcase of 70 of artist Sohan Qadri’s abstract frames painted between 1960 to 2010 is currently on in the Capital. Organised by the Kumar Art Gallery, this is the first-ever exhibition covering 50 years of Qadri’s work. Qadri, one of the country’s leading spiritual artists, believed that an artist had to see through the form to break its laws. His abstract art was inspired by Kundalini Yoga, Rig Veda and Vajrayana Buddhist tantrism.
The artist who died this year in March in Canada, had been working with Kumar’s Gallery here since 1965 as an artist on roll.Qadri played with his material, paper and canvas, the way a weaver spins his cloth. The artist managed to give a textile finish to his canvas and paper with the weft and the warp of a fabric, chaotic forms and dots or moola beeja, the tantric symbol representing the source of energy. “His life as an artist is characterised in two important journeys. During 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, he painted on canvas. But he decided to move on in the late 1980s to paper, with the same contours that he created on canvas. It continued till 2000,” says Sunil Kumar Jain of Kumar’s Gallery.
Qadri’s art assimilated from his travels around the world. He went in search of spiritual salvation to Tibet where he studied Vajrayana Buddhism. He eventually found a home in Denmark where he lived for nearly three decades. Failing health compelled him to relocate to Canada a few years ago.
“He painted till a year before his death. A pictorial biography of his life’s works, which we published, reached Qadri before his death,” says Jain.