Indian artist creates paintings for western literature

Indian artist creates paintings for western literature

‘Prince Myshkin’ by C K Purandare

Pune , 17th [ correspondent] : ‘Cherish the kernel of meaning of words’ said Dnyaneshwar. To capture the soul of world-class literature and transfer it to the medium of painting is no mean feat. This has been achieved by Chandrashekhar Purandare – originally from Pune but now settled in Scotland.

A book on Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s world famous ‘The Idiot’ will shortly have the cover-page based on his painting. Anthem Press, London are to publish this book.
Anthem Press specialises in publication of social research and literature from Russia and South-East Asia. They have selected Purandare’s Prince Myshkin [above] for the forthcoming book. Prince Myshkin is the central character in ‘The Idiot’. Purandare has also done portraits of other characters from the same novel as per his interpretation – Nastasya Filippovna, Rogozhin and proposes to paint Aglaya Yepanchina.

He has also done paintings based on ‘Transparent Things’ – a novel and ‘Speak, Memory’ - a semi-autobiographical work, both by Vladimir Nabokov, the author of the controversial ‘Lolita’. John Keats’ celebrated poem - ‘La Belle dame sans Merci’ is also depicted in a painting. He has done an imaginary portrait of Prof Peter Kien, the main character in ‘Auto da Fe’ [ Article of Faith].
Elizabeth Shue is the main actress in the film ‘Leaving Las Vegas’. Nicholas Cage got an Oscar for his role in that film. Purandare has portrayed Elizabeth Shue in that film as well. He has tried to represent the existential philosophy of Jean Paul Sartre as elucidated in ‘Being and Nothingness’ too in yet another painting.

Purandare has cultivated this unusual hobby of re-interpreting the meaning of thoughts expressed in verbal language. He is basically an engineer settled in Scotland for the last ten years. He holds a masters degree in Sociology as well.

He told ‘Lokmat’ – ‘Documentation of social misery is the main theme of my paintings. Thousands die in the world due to man-made disasters of poverty, inequality, violence. State, market and media are the power-centres in society, hardly bothered about such ills. My paintings are a commentary on this situation. They do not express beauty in the given sense. Delicacy and subtlety in conventional frame of beauty have no place in my work. According to me, verbal language is an inadequate medium to express something that goes to your heart, that makes you have a re-look at the reality. That is why I have switched over to painting. Conventional art celebrates individual agonies not the social misery. This collective indifference all over the world irks me. It is one of the motivating factors for me to paint’.

Literature leaves an imprint on the social conscious and , in turn, social conscious is reflected in literature. ‘‘I am interested in sociology, world-class literature, arts, music, politics and various schools of philosophy. My training as an engineer may have helped me in comparative studies. My work based on literature has probably come out of this attitude.

On Kalidasa’s Meghdoota, Rabindranath Tagore said – ‘we are all yaksha on this earth’. Such profound utterances inspire me. So does the message from BhagavadGita – sukhdukkhe same krtva labhalabhau jayajayau. I try to do painting based on such thoughts. Not only the western literature but marathi literature inspires me as well. I have tried to do paintings on Laxmibai Tilak’s smrtichitre, G A Kulkarni’s NilaSawala and Hirawe rave,Arvind Gokhale’s Kokru, Makarand Sathe’s Operation yamu.’’

Purandare’s work can be seen at Su-Darshan from 19th Dec to 2nd January.

[This news-item appeared in Lokmat, the biggest selling marathi daily in Maharshtra, western India, on Dec 18, 2004]