Achyut Palav was born in Mumbai in 1960. He graduated in General Diploma in Art from Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai in 1982. While he was in school, he realised there was more to letters than what meets the eye. Under the guidance of R.K. Joshi, he honed his calligraphy skills. He then received a research scholarship from Ulka Advertising in 1984. He focused on ‘Modi’ script, which is a specialised branch of calligraphy which was used from 15th – 17th century. He was a faculty member of the Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai.
There was no stopping him after his scholarship. Palav wanted to bring calligraphy ahead not only as art form but a expressive medium where letters in all their nakedness become alive, vibrating, pulsating with its inherent, shape, giving a canvas space to thoughts and a meaning to the sounds & actions. He believes each letter in every script known to man holds an eternal power, an individual beauty in its vertical, horizontal, angular lines, in their continuity. He expresses his thoughts through the medium of letters. His magical strokes flow freely from the plethora of instruments he uses to mark the surface with ink. These instruments include a toothbrush, shaving brush, a blush-on brush, a spatula and a tin lid apart from the usual pens. Palav, India’s most recognised calligrapher, initially started working with paper, but now he experiments with various surfaces like canvas, the cover of a keyboard, slate, ceramic tiles and wooden sets.
Palav founded the Achyut Palav School of Calligraphy which propagates the art of calligraphy. The school is built on the foundation of India’s rich culture & vast heritage of scripts, and he is determined to keep the more than 5 century old legacy alive through basic courses in calligraphy.
He has participated in several exhibitions in India and abroad. He has also won many awards including the Maharashtra Film Award in 2012, 2006, 2003; Maharashtra Art Award in 1992; Communication Guild Awards in 1993, 1994 and 1998. He was felicitated by Kalaratna Award by DD Sahyadri Navratna Puraskar and by Sindhuratna in 2016 amongst many others.
Palav lives and works in Mumbai.