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Poets Printery

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The Art of Vijay Mohite


Vijay_Mohite_Invitation 1

Noted artist Vijay Mohite, whose works were on view at the Lalit Kala Akademi recently, was a master of creating abstracts which spoke the common language of love

Encountering Vijay Mohite Sahab and his wife Aruna at Gwalior during 1970s was the most formidable experience for a young doctor keen on mastering visual arts and poetry. Both Mohite Sahab and I belong to Gwalior. I imbibed his words and they still stay with me. His art, the few that I saw then, remain etched in my mind.

Medicine took me to remote parts of the world but in a tiny corner of my mind, the vastness that is Vijay Mohite remains. Each time I came back home to my parents at Gwalior, the fort and his art made me think, and I was left trying to find words for creations so beautiful, so magical, and yet so hard to explain.

Vijay Mohite’s works have always been acclaimed as abstract compositions. They were probably seen as removed from the place and his life at Gwalior.

If one analyses all the pieces, his art comes out as a spectacular understanding of familiar forms and shapes. Feelings are the mobile language of Vijay Mohite’s art. In dynamic proportions, its relative understanding of the earth, the sky, the people and the fort all being of Gwalior is depicted in mammoth togetherness of strokes that might be mistaken for impatience.

In the clever mastery of juxtaposition of colours, the eye sometimes rolls to create a bonding.

In the immediacy of such flavours, such organised textures, such ways of recall, Vijay Mohite continues to talk to us about blistering summers and severe winters, he tells us about the earthly foliage that lives within all of us.

Rhythm and suggestiveness in sudden blues, reds and oranges that sparkle from his huge canvases are of a caring togetherness. I would even think of his sudden laughter, such sudden shower of colours happening in total awareness. A curtain seems to have moved apart.

For togetherness was always the theme of Vijay Mohite’s work. His togetherness with his wife Aruna, daughter Nandita and stranger dawns and dusks that he revered, were all his inspiration for such work, such language never created by any other Indian artist.

During the same time as Vijay Mohite’s most creative period, poetry and visual art in a unique Indian juncture revolutionised the landscape of global creativity. Thoughts entangled in colours and words gave way to a new religion in India.

This movement had artists like Sabavala, Ram Kumar, Krishen Khanna, Akbar Padamsee and others; each proved that they had streaks of brilliance in them.

Vijay Mohite took to this movement like a heretic; his poems in colour were of savage radiance, rehearsing in unforgettable ways, themes embedded in life within many lives at Gwalior.

Today, in the absence of Vijay Mohite Sahab, I go through his work again and again.

It’s just like a poem stuck on to my memories. His structures were different but spoke the common language of love.

Amitabh Mitra is an artist/poet/emergency medicine and a trauma physician in East London, South Africa.

First Published in the popular news daily, The Hindu


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