Renowned artist Manjit Bawa, who displayed his exceptional artistic talent through motifs of birds, animals and Indian mythology, died in New Delhi on Monday after a prolonged illness.
The 67-year-old painter from Punjab’s Dhuri district was in coma for the past three years shuttling between hospital and his Delhi home.
Bawa, who began his career as a silkscreen printer in London in 1964, breathed his last on Monday morning at his Green Park residence in south Delhi. His paintings attracted both Indian as well as international buyers, with one of his paintings selling recently for over Rs 1.5 crore.
Educated at Delhi’s College of Art and London School of Printing, Bawa started as a figurative painter. One of the first painters to break out of the dominant greys and browns of the western art and opt for Indian colours like red and violet, the maestro was influenced by nature, Sufi mysticism and Indian mythology.
“He wanted to paint the sky red. He loved red. He was a brave painter who had the courage to follow his convictions unmindful of the popular trend,” Ena Puri, author of a biography on Bawa, said.
PM expresses grief
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed grief at the death of the noted painter, who, he said, brought Sufi sensibilities to contemporary Indian art.
“His depiction of idyllic scenes of love and use of vibrant colours earned for him a special place in the art world,” the PM said.