Starting this week, master artist Akbar Padamsee, 85, will display 40 oil paintings, all created over the past two years, at a solo exhibition titled Past Forward, his first such showing in the city in a decade.
A mix of Padamsee’s patented metascapes and faces of Christ will feature in this exhibition, to be held at Worli’s Priyasari art gallery from April 27 to May 15.
Padamsee’s famed metascapes are influenced by the five elements — earth, water, fire, air and space — and by the Hindu philosophy of Purusha (pure consciousness) and Prakriti (fundamental matter).
“I first learnt about these elements while reading artist Ananda Coomaraswami’s book The Dance of Shiva when I was 16,” Padamsee told HT. “I asked myself, how do I draw these elements into my paintings? Then the idea of metascapes struck me.”
Padamsee, a Muslim, studied in a Catholic school and was also influenced by the personality of Christ.
“I have always been bound by visuals,” says Padamsee, narrating a childhood memory of refusing to eat the animal-shaped biscuits his father bought for him. “He asked me, don’t you like biscuits? I said ‘I do, but how can I eat the ones shaped like animals’?”
Asked why he continues to paint at his age, Padamsee said: “Friends ask me the same thing. It’s only when you don’t like your work that you feel tired. I love my work. That brings me youth.”
In fact, five years ago, determined to continue to create art, he began to explore photography. “There might come a day when I will be so weak that I won’t be able to paint,” he says. “But
I might still be able to create pictures at the touch of a button.”