Artist Chandrashekhar Purandare provokes people to think as he portrays the harsh realities of life through his non-decorative paintings

by Pranav Kulkarni

Not everyone needs prolonged political speeches to put their point across. Given the fact that a picture speaks thousand words, Artist Chandrashekhar Purandare, along with his paintings conveys much beyond common perception – without saying a word.

Labeling Purandare as a painter is almost an injustice to his rational thinking and his ability to take firm standpoint about a phenomenon. Categorizing him as a thinker or a philosopher might mean neglecting the art the man uses to portray his philosophy. The appropriate word to describe this London-based-Pune-born artist would be – progressive painter.

Even after stating that his art is not for people to buy, his paintings have been much in demand by art lovers, magazines and publication houses for their ability to provoke people to think. In this sense Purandare’s paintings also cross the barriers of caste, colour and nations stating the realities in a neutral and unbiased manner and finally leaving it for the observer to form an opinion for himself or herself about the issues tackled.
The distinctive feature of this artist is his ability to have a standpoint but not to reflect that in his painting thus avoiding the bias the painting might represent. “ I have my thought process behind a particular painting. To give you an example, Kashmir has been a disputed part between India and Pakistan since 1947. Many agents contribute to the on-going violence – Pakistani army, Indian army and the resistance groups aligned to either or against both. It is a very beautiful state and has been described as paradise on earth for ages. My painting called Kashmir [ the painting can be seen at Art-People-The Undercurrents-Gallery2-Third row-Fourth Picture] shows this tranquil landscape and explains how rest of India sees Kashmir only as a tourist destination. But not many see that Kashmir also has new orphans, widows, bereaved women generated on a daily basis due to violence. People do not want to see the women who suffer. That is why the women in my painting are almost invisible against an agitated sky. While this is my standpoint, the viewers are open to interpretation’’ says Purandare talking about one of his painting.


Purandare’s painting The Left and the proletariat records the Nandigram violence and the clash between the West Bengal police and those protesting against the proposed SEZ.


Another painting called Prison explains the harsh reality of prisoners who do not appear for trials.


Purandare also depicts the real picture of modern India through his painting – Arriving in the 21st century – India. “The painting shows the villages and modern cities in India. On one side the painting shows high rise buildings and on the other side, the sadhu speaking on the cell phone. Through the Tata Nano and the buffaloes in the centre it sows that even if we are moving towards advancement, basic infrastructure still lacks in India,” says he.


The artist also shares that his art is non decorative and it is not for people to purchase. “What I portray through my paintings is reality and unfortunately , most of the times, reality is harsh and negative. I don’t think anyone wants to put these aspects on their walls. In fact I would be happier if people think about it, reflect upon it and take some actions,” says Purandare. He also states that people often blame him of posing questions without giving a solution to their problem. “I feel that as a responsible human being, it is my duty to portray reality. Action is for authorities to take, isn’t it?,” asks the artist posing yet another question before signing off.
[Purandare was in the city for the launch of his CD – Outsider Art-II and his work can be viewed at]