In his long career as an artist, there are few things Tyeb Mehta didn’t try his hand at. He was as passionate about paintings as he was about sculptures. His avid interest in films led him to make a documentary, Koodal (1970), which won him a Filmfare Critics Award. Mehta, who passed away last year, is today remembered as one of the most prominent modernist artists in India. And now the Tyeb Mehta Foundation has decided to commemorate the artist’s birth anniversary in a unique manner.
The Mohile Parikh Center and The Tyeb Mehta Foundation just announced a series of lectures — Conversations with Chai — in his remembrance. The first lecture is to commemorate the birth anniversary of the artist on July 26, which will be followed by a series of lectures on contemporary art spread over the year.
Yusuf Mehta, director of the Tyeb Mehta Foundation, says, “His family has been looking to do something to keep his legacy growing. Last year, we did an event called Remembering Tyeb. He was always interested in these kinds of forums that enhance the understanding of artistic traditions.”
Yusuf says that the Foundation is the process of starting a trust that would hold more such discussions, and hopes to see people from across the country. “We’re planning to organise three lectures every year and eventually these discussions can be published as books,” he says.
The first speaker, Gayatri Sinha, will throw light on the status of the divine feminine as a subject in art. Yusuf says, “It will refer to the history of the goddess within modern Indian nationhood and examine subsequent responses by contemporary artists from the 1990s onwards.” The lecture will also analyse the notion of exile in the works of MF Husain and Tyeb Mehta.