Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you and learn more about your art and what inspires it.
We noticed you have a number of works titled Day and Night? Why so?
Day and Night are everyday phenomena which have never been painted as Time is an abstract entity. 16 years ago I began to symbolize day as a yellow embroiderer spinning the thread of life and black night forever cutting this with scissors with which I’m now identified.
What inspired you to create Body is Just a Garment?
Body is Just a Garment was shown in 1993, in a series of 33 Paintings and 6 terracota sculptures. The lines are from Kabir the weaver and also Krishna says this to Arjuna in the Gita — grieve not, for the body is just a garment. It is about the temporariness of all things.
The background of Compassion is all black. Any specific reason?
I like black as a background as it highlights all other colors used upon it, like a lamp lit in the dark.
What matters and what flows away without a trace in the River of Time?
River of Time carries all with it. What remains is love, compassion, humanism.
What’s the meaning of Love Beyond Measure?
Love Beyond Measure is based on a real life love story of Sohni Mahiwal, a real woman potter born 500 years ago in Kashmir, who would swim on a pot across a turbulent river to meet her love. A scheming relative gave her an unbaked pot one day, she drowned, and he jumped in too. This is popular in folk songs and films and was painted 200 years ago. I have contemporized the myth by using measuring scales and scissors.
What are some of the feelings and ideas that fueled your Endless Journey?
Our first Sikh Guru (teacher) Nanak travelled all over India and outside with his message of love, equality of lower castes and women, the importance of hard work and sharing one’s earnings with the poor. He was a shopkeeper when young and a tiller of fields in his last years. He wrote in verse, hundreds of hymns.
Who are some of the creative minds you admire most?
I admire those creative people who exercise their freedom of expression fearlessly and never bend to market forces. They are forever ‘outsiders’, have imagination, and question convention.
What do you consider to be your most important achievement through art?
The ability to explore my inner self freely, to discover some new potential everyday, to question myself, criticize my own work and share my earnings with the poor.