When Mumbai-based artist Yashwant Shirwadkar made a landscape painting in 1972, he had no idea that he’d come to be renowned in the art circle for his recreation of Benares.
Today, even though Benares isn’t his sole muse, Shirwadkar will display his latest work on the city at the Museum Art Gallery, Kala Ghoda in a six-day solo exhibition starting December 21.
“I had stopped painting Benares in 2004. But I decided to do it again on my 2008 visit to the city, and depict how now it is in shambles,” he says. The paintings are a new take on the existing architecture of the city, sketched from the perspective of the valleys during different times of day and seasons.
Shirwadkar has also worked on landscape art in the regions of Kullu Manali, Rajasthan, Jaipur and Kerala. His themes now include nature and architecture during various times of the day. “Architecture fascinates me. It’s the contrasts it brings out that I seek to reproduce,” he says. In 2004, Shirwadkar travelled to Kashmir to take inspiration from houseboats and ‘shikaras’ of Kashmir. Besides that, he’s also fascinated by the ‘havelis’ of Rajasthan, and has held exhibitions in the USA and Paris. His technique involves the use of a palette knife which lends a 3D effect to his art. “My Benares paintings depict the castles on mountains and the diversity in them. I’ve also brought out human rites and rituals of the place,” Shirwadkar adds.
The exhibition is supported by online art gallery Painternet India.