Eminent artist, Jatin Das’s new body of work —tilted Figures in Motion — exemplifies his inexhaustible energy. His vitally shines through his powerful lines and his unending desire to explore human figures, beyond time and space. To understand Das’ work is to understand the artist himself. His artistic expression stems from a deep-rooted and honest interest in all that he interacts with. The effortless and sparse use of strokes immortalise his figures on the canvas.The silent melody pervades every work, regardless of the medium. He deftly captures “the figures in motion” in his paintings, drawings and graphics, which are deceptively calm, probably through his choice of colours. Over the last decade, his figures have only emerged as more resplendent, and as captivating as ever.
Born in December 1941 in Mayurbhanj, Odisha, he studied at the Sir JJ School of Art, Bombay, under Professor SB Palsikar. He has held 68 oneman shows, in India and abroad and has participated in numerous national and international exhibitions and artist camps. He works in oil, watercolour, ink, graphics and Conté. From his mural The Journey of India: Mohenjo-Daro to Mahatma Gandhi in the Parliament of India, to his welded steel installation at the Bhilai Steel Plant in Madhya Pradesh and most recently his mural at Bangalore airport, Das has worked with a wide range of materials and created several landmark murals and sculpture installations. His works feature in several public and private collections in India and abroad.
Das’s commitment to art and artists and towards creating sensitivity for art and aesthetics led him to a dream almost 30 years ago. He is the founder and chairman of the JD Centre of Art in Bhubaneswar, Odisha that will house classical, contemporary, traditional and folk art under one roof. During the last 35 years, he has built a personal collection of contemporary and traditional art, antiquity and crafts that includes the enormous “Pankha” collection, which consists of more than 6,000 hand-fans.
Das says, “I exhibit very little now but I work every day. I don’t use words like creativity, mood or inspiration. I feel that every day I am painting for the first time. I paint and capture elements that excite me, assimilating from various visual cultures; traditional and contemporary. I draw mainly human figures, completely devoid of embellishments and any reference to time and space. They are simply energised bare figures, in motion.” On his style of drawing, Das says, “To draw a line on a surface is to accept the challenge of an arrogant virgin space. It is like blood flowing through the tip of the nib. It is like a river flowing. I believe the strength of an artist is in his drawing.” In 2012, Das was bestowed the Padma Bhushan.
Figures in Motion, presented by Art and Soul, is on display at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, till October 16, 2017