The straight-lined charming house in Sector 8, reminiscent of the early architectural style of the city, brims over with artworks. The pride of the place in the corridor and the living room is given to the priceless paintings of master architect Le Corbusier as the latter gifted a large collection to Manmohan Nath Sharma, who was a young architect after Corbusier’s heart.
Sitting in the midst of this treasure, Sharma talks of his paintings which he made in the past two years, picking up the brush for the first time at the age of 91 when he was confined to the bed with illness. “Dreams and ideas can be expressed through varied mediums like architecture, landscaping or even painting to which I have recently turned,” says the veteran architect whose association with the building of Chandigarh predated even the entry of Le Corbusier. He started work on building this city of the dreams of an independent India in 1950 with the initial team of Albert Mayer and Mathew Nowicky. Looking back with fondness, Sharma says, “My first building was the Government Printing Press in Sector 18 which was constructed in 1951 and my last is the Tourist Information Centre in the Capitol Complex that opened last year. All I can say about my architectural work is that my buildings speak,” he says with conviction.
Well, his buildings speak and so do his paintings which are a play with geometrical forms and brilliant hues and thus his art achieves a harmony and tranquility which reaches out to the very soul of the viewer.
The pride of the place in the corridor and the living room is given to the priceless paintings of master architect Le Corbusier as the latter gifted a large collection to architect-artist Manmohan Nath Sharma. (Sanjeev Sharma/HT)
“I do not work with any predetermined form but with free om guided by an inner impulse to reach the truth and truth is always beautiful”. A part of this exhibition is a lyrical series on the Punjab village scenes inspired by the villages which stood where no the city of Chandigarh stands. The dreamy nostalgic brush work in these paintings has traces of the rural scene of West Punjab since he was born in Sialkot, now in Pakistan in 1923. Although frail in the body and at times short of breath, Sharma’s is a very alert mind and his approach to art youthful and celebratory. He has always held Le Corbusier as an inspiratory figure but the credit of goading him to paint also goes to poet Yojna Rawat with whom he shares a camaraderie with the two having been brought together with the French connection since Yojna is also an avid translator of French to Hindi. Last year she took him to France to visit the grave of his mentor, Le Corbusier.
Catch it live
What: Painting exhibition by architect-artist Manmohan Nath Sharma
Where: Alliance Francaise, Sector 36A
Opens: August 27
On till: September 10