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Rendezvous with Jatin Das

Updated: December 19, 2009 1:21 pm

Jatin Das is the part of Indian Art for more than four decades with his paintings which depict the new and dynamic ways of sketching human figures, man-woman relationship, contacts and disclosures, emotional tensions etc. His human forms have a vibrant energy and an abundance of emotions. He has contributed a lot to Indian Art. He is the master of using colours in an outstanding way, which seem to disclose the tinges of every emotional expression in his paintings. In a formal chat with Uday India, he spills the beans about himself, reproduced below are excerpts from conversation.

Shri Das says “I was born in the year 1941 in the Mayurbhanj District in Orissa.” I have been away from my native place for the last 51 years. I received my training in the field of art from Sir J.J.School of Art in Bombay. This was the first Art College of India. I was enrolled there for a period of five years, from 1957 to 1962. Later on, I started participating in Art exhibitions both at national and international level. I have exhibited my work in many European countries, besides the U.K. and West Asia. I am in Delhi for the last 40 years.

Other than being a contemporary artist, I have keen interest in traditional art forms especially from Orissa because it has rich cultural heritage. I have a huge collection of antiquity, artifacts, handlooms not only from India but also from China, South Africa to name a few.

Let me now talk about Jatin Das Center of Art (JDC). JDC is a non- government, non-commercial centre of the visuals and plastic arts based center. It brings tribal, folk, classic and contemporary art together under one roof. It was founded in 1991.Orissa government has allotted an acre of land to establish JDC in Mayurbhanj and B.V. Doshi, the famous architect from Ahmedabad and an associate of Le Corbusier, has designed the master plan for the ambitious centre. I have donated all my collection to JDC. My aim to establish JDC is to preserve and promote visual arts and crafts of all culture, by opening all doors in all directions to ventilate, energize and rejuvenate the center in a national and international arena.

There are 14 permanent galleries and museums for traditional and contemporary; each one will be dedicated to toys, drawings, water colours, oil paintings etc. At present we are temporarily working out of a house in Bhubaneswar given by the state government. And I am running an office in Delhi as well. I incur the entire expenditure by the sale of my paintings. This is a philanthropic project.

As the part of vision of JDC every second Saturday at 6pm we organize a meeting under the title of “MEETS THE ARTIST”. In this get together creative people from the field of traditional and contemporary art impart their knowledge and experience.

JDC also setup a JDC film forum that archives documentary films on art and artist and art of nature and man-made. It is the only art center that organises Documentary Film Festival on art. It has an archive of more than one thousand films. JDC has already organized three National Documentary Film Festivals in Bhubaneshwar.

And this will be the fourth time when we are oragnising this Film Festival on 11th, 12th, 13th December of this year. Along with that we have organized seminar, workshops, and exhibitions of Orissa handcrafts and handlooms. 40 delegates will be visiting the festival.

Apart from this I have the largest collection of Pankhas (hand fans). My collection comprises of 5,000 antique fans from India, Kerala, Gujarat, Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa, though I have many fans from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, China and Africa too. This is one of the largest private collections of Pankhas in the world. These have been exhibited in well-known museums in India and oversee like Pankha museum in England and Switzerland and in Philips and Colombo etc. New Delhi government has also decided to open a National Pankha Museum in Delhi. I will donate my entire collection to this Museum for the future generation and my nation as a hardcore philanthropic gesture.”

By Vaishali Tanwar

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