Satish Gujral is immortalising himself, quite literally. The artist is conceiving a museum of his work, to be set up in New Delhi.
“Yes, the idea has always been in my mind, and it’s one of the reasons I have remained unaffected by commercial trends,” confirms the Padma Vibhushan awardee.
He adds, “It will be spread over 800 square metres (8,611 sq ft), near my home in Lajpat Nagar. I plan to put in a collection of my work, created in different phases since 1950. An internationally renowned architect based in Singapore is designing it. We hope to begin construction six months from now.”
Gujral is currently displaying a series of sculptures at a group show in Mumbai after a long gap. “My last show was in February 2010; but the way I usually come out with shows, it doesn’t seem to be a long gap,” he shrugs.
Over a span of six decades, the veteran has put together a staggering number of paintings, murals, sculptures, graphics, paper collages, even architecture.
According to him: “The biggest hurdle an artist faces is that once his style gets recognised, he becomes a slave to it. So my continued experimentation with mediums shows a reluctance to remain encaged.”
The artist is also widely known for having built a successful career despite an almost lifelong hearing impairment.
Ask him if it ever affected his work and he admits, “Earlier, I hadn’t recognised that it affected my perception of colours or form, but when I regained my hearing in the late nineties after a transplant, I could see the difference. Then after a few months, I returned to the same soundless world and the realisation became even more evident.”
Gujral is also gearing up for a film based on his autobiography, A Brush With Life, but he doesn’t discuss it, saying, “It’s yet to be produced.”