'I get inspired when I am in my studio'
On display were Akbar’s works, which featured faces and expressions of different people. Each painting had a story to tell. Akbar says that he never plans his work and has no pre-conceived notions when it comes to art. “I get inspired when I am in my studio. There are no set parameters that I go by but I was impressed by Chinese art,” explains Akbar.
Akbar Padamsee was born in Mumbai and is considered to be one of the most influential modern artist to emerge in early post-independent India. Though widely spoken of as a modernist, Padamsee continues to resist easy categorisation. Throughout his illustrious career, he has remained fiercely experimental and individualistic.
Recollecting some of his earlier works, Akbar says, “I drew a series of paintings of Gandhiji. I think he’s iconic and is no different from Buddha or even Jesus Christ. There’s nobody else who has inspired and influenced me as much.”
Akbar’s artistic oeuvre is a formal exploration of a few chosen genres — prophets, heads, couples, still-life, grey works, metascapes, mirror — images and tertiaries , across a multitude of media like oil painting, plastic emulsion, water colour, sculpture, printmaking, computer graphics, and photography. Since the seventies, his work is seen to alternate between two major genres, luminous metascapes — his signature works, and the human figure which he continues to imbue with an arresting presence.
“I always prefer to work in natural light rather than rely on artificial lights,” he says. Akbar believes that it is important that every artist is perceptive to his work, “I think it is important to focus on what one is doing, whether an artist, teacher or any other professional. Perception is key to success.” Akbar feels a that the young breed of artists are focussed. “Art has to change and only young people can bring about that change. It pays to take a different path,” he says.
The audience were taken through a 30-minute presentation of Akbar’s life, his work and achievements. Akshay, a young artist, says, “I’ve read so much about Akbar and meeting him in person was a different experience altogether.”
Anjali Raj, an art collector adds, “Each painting has captured a different expression. Surely, Akbar has put in a lot of thought into his work. It’s brilliant.”