“Museums are required to look into our past thereby helping us to move forward in life by learning things from the past. They act as a symbol of respect for our ancestors,” said Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel after inaugurating the exhibition titled “Astitva: The Essence of Prabhakar Barwe” at National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi on June 13.
According to the minister, going to the nature and art, helps us to have a peaceful mind and quell arrogance, for this we also need to respect our art and gurus.
Astitva is the first of its kind event that will present Barwe’s artistic oeuvre in four distinct phases. The artworks are chronologically orchestrated in each space, each representing a peculiar phase of Barwe’s practice. Beginning with Roop Tantra, one encounters Barwe’s early works from Sir J.J. School of Art and their transition into Tantric formations.
Accompanied with designs made by the artist during his years at the Weavers Service Centre and a few textile works will be displayed, depicting Barwe’s engrossment and turn from design into Tantra, and ultimately into his own Swatantra, reflected through his work Ethereal Transitions. Works beginning from 1958 until 1977 form a part of this space. The next two segments are the Roop Artha that traces the cognitive shifts in the mind of the artist; the paintings with subtle tones comprising Barwe’s creations from 1972 to 1988, and the Roop Tattva, which becomes an allegory to Barwe’s work, Many Identities of the Self that displays paintings from the late 1980s to his last unfinished canvas.
A fascinating feature of this exhibition is the section Roop Vichaar, that will exhibit a selection from Barwe’s 52 diaries – displayed as diary pages, animated videos and facsimile reproductions of a few diaries. In addition, a documented timeline, which chronicles the artist’s life, accompanied by a reading corner with collated archives also forms part of the exhibit.