Curated by Ranjit Hoskote
In collaboration with the CSMVS
The Jehangir Sabavala Bequest was Mrs Shirin Sabavala’s generous gift, to the CSMVS, of the celebrated artist’s last paintings. Mrs Sabavala’s gift also included a rich archive of her husband’s papers, photographs and books, as well as sketchbooks and portfolios of drawings, some dating back to his student years in the 1940s. A leading member of India’s first generation of post-Independence painters, Jehangir Sabavala (1922-2011) was educated in Bombay, London and Paris. He dedicated himself to synthesising a European training with a dynamic postcolonial environment.
This exhibition located Sabavala’s studio practice in the context of an evolving five-century-old history of the studio from Albrecht Dürer to Olafur Eliasson. It also, for the first time, situated Sabavala in the context of the diverse, even eccentric artistic experiments taking place in India between the 1930s and the 1950s. Drawing on the holdings of the CSMVS, the exhibition also mapped Sabavala’s work in relation to Himalayan and Japanese art, which inspired him. It also dramatised the intimate relationship between the studio, the academy and the gallery in Sabavala’s career.