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Immortalising Mumbai’s wilderness on canvas

Eminent painter Vasudeo Kamath has completed nine paintings depicting scenic locations at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and another three are in the making.

mumbai Updated: Jul 28, 2016 12:57 IST
Badri Chatterjee
‘The Sunrise in SGNP’ depicts the park’s iconic boating area and promenade.
‘The Sunrise in SGNP’ depicts the park’s iconic boating area and promenade.(Vasudeo Kamath)

Eminent painter Vasudeo Kamath has come up with a series of paintings that show the biodiversity at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) in Mumbai.

Vasudeo Kamath (right) presents his paintings to Vikas Gupta, the chief conservator of forests. (Vasudeo Kamath )

Nine paintings, made with water soluble acrylic paint, already adorn the walls of SGNP’s VIP guest house and another three are in the making.

‘The Wild Mumbai’ depicts the large leopard population that has made SGNP their home. The painting was conceptualised after a camera-trap fitted with a motion sensor photographed a leopard atop a hill with the Mumbai skyline in the background. (Vasudeo Kamath)

A gold medallist from the JJ School of Arts and the current president of the Bombay Arts Society, 60-year-old Kamath spent most of his life in Mumbai. He spent more than two months conceptualising and completing the nine paintings.

“The idea was to artistically capture the city’s wilderness,” said Vikas Gupta, chief conservator of forest, SGNP. “We were lucky to discover this great painter who appreciates nature through his work. We discussed various ideas and suggested locations within SGNP that could be reproduced. He has done this with the utmost accuracy,” he added.

‘The emotions’ depicts a spotted deer Kamath saw near the Kanheri caves. (Vasudeo Kamath )

Gupta said Kamath will also develop illustrations about SGNP’s butterfly and fragrance garden and the park’s tree species. The illustrations will be put up on electric poles across the 104 sq kilometre park.

One of the paintings titled, ‘The visit to Kanheri’ commemorates the visit of British painters, Thomas Daniell and William Daniell, to the Kanheri caves in 1793. The location, painted back then, has been reproduced by Kamath, with the help of the city’s archeological department.

‘The Visit to Kanheri’ commemorates the visit of British painters Thomas Daniell and William Daniell to the Kanheri caves in 1793. (Vasudeo Kamath )

“I have seen how the city has been trying hard to protect its natural wilderness while the surrounding areas are being rapidly developed,” said Kamath. He added that during his graduation in 1977, he had sketched and painted many SGNP landscapes.

‘The emotions’ depicts two langurs spotted near the Kanheri caves. (Vasudeo Kamath )

Kamath added that his main aim was for visitors to realise that they should not visit this park solely seeking entertainment, but to experience the magnificence that lies in nature. “The early-morning lake view, the poised stance of a leopard and even the simplicity of monkeys, all inspired me to make these paintings. The idea is to request people to make efforts to conserve nature,” he said.

PLEASE NOTE: All paintings have been made by Vasudeo Kamath and copyrighted by SGNP