In these days of “scream to be heard”, it is rare to come across someone like the soft-spoken Gieve Patel, who wears a number of hats: he’s one of India’s most important English language poets, a playwright of no mean reputation, and a painter. Oh, and he’s also a physician.
A number of his paintings and a few sculptures, done over a period of 30 years from the 1970s to 2008 , are on show at the capital’s Gallery Threshold (in Lado Sarai). “It’s a mini retrospective, his first show in the capital in 17 years” says galleryist Tunty Chauhan. The show includes works sourced from Patel’s collectors, including Osian’s, the Mumbai-based auction house. Mumbai, the city he lives in, is Patel’s muse, especially its architecture and, he says, the “day to day encounters between two people”.
The subject may be quotidian, but Patel brings to his canvases a touch of quirkiness that, to all those who know and love the city, evokes the quirkiness of Mumbai itself. Take Ship Building in Mumbai, which depicts two women chatting near the shore, a boat being built behind them. But wait, what’s the boy doing loitering just within earshot, and the straggly dog with its face turned away near their feet?
With a few days of no-work-all-play coming up this festive weekend, it’s a great opportunity to go catch the muted poetry of Patel’s paintings.
The show is on till Oct 22