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Samir Mondal: Artist we love

DEC 8, 2016 | By Aditi Sharma Maheshwari
Pablo Picasso once said “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls”. There is no debate on that – beautiful paintings and creative works have the ability to make you think differently and transport you to another world. This is probably why Samir Mondal’s creations are so impactful, popular and important. Touted as one of the most eminent watercolour painters in India, he believes that “this genre of art which has been crucial to history should gain momentum again”. His 40th solo show titled Reminiscences at the Jamaat Gallery in Colaba is a retrospective of his career, which focuses on his skills of turning simple objects into beautiful compositions.
His romance with watercolours started early and since his student life to present day, his association with this medium has remained strong. “After graduation, I drew inspiration and courage from my senior, the famous painter Gopal Ghosh. Since then, I have completed 40 years in the industry and my show is a culmination of all that I have worked on,” he says.
A walk through a gallery of his works can mesmerise you – landscapes, flowers, butterflies, animals and even faces seem to come alive with his confident and almost lyrical brush strokes. Now Samir dedicates a lot of his time to the revival of watercolour paintings. He avers, “Today there is a popular practice of using oil and acrylic. Expressing art through watercolours has gone down drastically in our country – this art form which has been so integral to our culture, reflected in scriptures, temple art and old texts. Over time we adapted to the British school of painting and people started forgetting watercolour art. However, since the recent past I have noticed a slow resurgence of the watercolour movement globally where people are once again taking to this medium.”
Through his illustrious career, he has produced several thematic exhibitions like The War, The Butterflies which was a show on the Gulf War; Let’s Rock which presented the complexities of urban life; Here the Civilization Ends expressing political unrest, and many more.  On giving a word of advice to young artists, Samir says, “If you love a certain medium of art, it is important to study it thoroughly and give it a lot of time. After decades of being dedicated to watercolour paintings, I know every detail about this medium – the pigments, shades of paints, fibre and quality of the paper, the paintbrush and how to play with the strokes. Always be true to your work and fall in love with it, for a lifetime!”
The exhibition Reminiscences is on show at Jamaat Gallery, Colaba till January 7, 2016
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