Inauguration of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology was the occassion.
True to his style Dr Bhargava put up a big show, both scientifc and artistic.
The seminar went on for 21 days.
There were Nobel Laureates and also painters like Maqbool Fida Hussain, Pakala Tirumala Reddy, writers like Vikram seth and many more people from the creative fields.
That is where I met Charles Correa.
That is where I met Surya Prakash too.
We all sat in the lawns with him talking.
You can see the half done mural perhaps even today.
We spent time with Hussain talking about various things.
Mural however, was never completed.
He stayed on the campus and made a couple good paintings.
One of them about Mother Teresa, if my memory serves me well.
The paintings are still in the foyer of CCMB.
In fact many famous painters were commissioned to make paintings and they are all there in the foyer even today.
Surya Prakash was appointed as an Artist in House at CCMB.
No other scientific institute did such a thing as appointing artists for arts ake.
He started painting his now famous leaves around that time only.
There was a photographer also on the staff there.
We all were enjoying the fun!!
I was enjoying the science also and interviewed many scientists including Nobel Laureates and persons like Dr Ephraim Katchalsky, erstwhile President of Israel.
Intelligence people caught hold my equipment after his interview!
Well, the post is about Surya Prakash!
Here are some of his excellent works!
This is what Hindu wrote about Surya Prakash
Inside his fifth floor studio, Surya Prakash daubs his canvas with a few pixels of white. In the rich colours of verdancy and vibrancy, the white disappears like a dot but leaves a trace of luminance in the mind’s eye. “This is too dull, let me get something more colourful to work as a background,” he says moving the canvas he is working on and then picking up the third painting in the second stack positioning it as the background. This one recalls a green vista that has long disappeared. But life and canvas of Surya Prakash hasn’t always been the emerald green of spring or flaming orange of spring forest. Years ago it was defined by the blue and blooms in water.
When he opened the doors of his gallery in Srinagar Colony he had a small pond with a few water plants, lilies and lotuses. Visitors would stop, admire and move into the gallery to see the artist’s work with pointillism, but it inspired a major series for Surya Prakash. And from this slice of nature, began his journey into a Monetesque world of colours. A writer dubbed it Pool of Life and it stayed with the artist for nearly 10 years. “I started hating it after a point of time. It was tyranny of demand, people started expecting me to do the same thing. I could not move on to new things. For an artist nothing is worse than absence of creativity and novelty, it is like stopping all exploration,” says Surya Prakash about the series which almost became his calling card.
“And I was stuck with oil colours. To break the tyrannical grip, I tried working with acrylics. I would splay the canvas with acrylics without having any pattern in mind and then I would sit and finish the painting with oil colours. Suddenly, my canvases were much more evocative, the subjects had breathing space as it were,” says the artist pacing the room.
It is this creative experimental mindset that keeps the artist bursting with ideas though he started his journey into art world accidentally, when his art teacher Mahboob Ali took a shine to him in 40s and when he failed to secure admission into any college after finishing his Intermediate. “I was an academically poor student. When I failed to secure admission to any college a friend of my brother suggested School of Fine Arts where I was accepted and I learnt under Vidya Sagar and Jagadish Mittal later I worked under Ram Kumar but I was always inspired by the works of Cezzane, Monet and other artists who did outdoor figurative works,” he says recalling a time when artists hardly had access to the works of major artists. “I wanted to absorb their style and technique but do my own work which I think I am still pursuing,” he says.
Now in the comfort of a studio in the fifth floor of LV Prasad Eye Institute where he works everyday between 10.30 a.m. and 6 p.m. with a lunch break with his wife at their home in Road no. 5 Banjara Hills, Surya Prakash remembers the time when he would pedal to the old city on a bicycle early in the morning with his paint bottles strung around the cycle to stop, sketch and paint. It was during one of these sojourns that he stopped by an old weather-beaten body of a truck which turned into a series on automobiles and his first solo exhibition in 1963, since then he has taken his art and style to many places in the world. “Initially I was seen as an abstract painter. I was very much inspired by western schools of painting. Later I did some portraits and then I moved onto figurative works. Now, my peers would be surprised that I used to do abstracts,” he says.
Now, having moved onto a series that evokes fantastic forests raging with colours and life, he has teamed up with a writer for a biographical walk down his long and eventful life. He shows an old photograph where a lean man with folded hands and slicked back hair stands “I was into abstracts at that point of time. This must have been in 1963. Most of these works are lost as I kept them in Kala Bhavan when I went to Delhi when I came back, they were all gone. All my initial studies and sketches were lost I don’t know their fate but I moved on. Life is about movement and not looking back,” says Surya Prakash summing up his philosophy of life.
Let us enjoy good works of art!