Gieve Patel is a man of many shades - a practicing general physician, a self-taught artist, a poet and a playwright - all at the same time. He walked the audience through the gallery and discussed his painting ‘Statesmen on a Floral Rostrum’ which was on display. He spoke about his creative process, as well as his responses to his fellow artists, who share the gallery space with him.
This was the second of three walkthroughs of the show “Six Decades: Celebrating the Mumbai Artists from the Jehangir Nicholson Collection”, that enriched the interaction between artists, the collection and the public.
Gieve Patel was born in Mumbai in 1940. He is a man of many shades – a practicing general physician, a self-taught artist, a poet and a playwright – all at the same time.
He held his first show in Mumbai in 1966 that went on to have several major exhibitions in India and abroad including those at Bose Pacia, New York; Gallery Threshold, New Delhi; Gallery Chemould, Mumbai; Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts; The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai; Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai.
His works are direct and unambiguous, achieving an objective precision. He addresses social realities, but avoids the reductivism of hardline political positions. Patel painted satirical portraits of politicians. Since 1991 Patel has consistently explored the central image of the water well. He often refers to it as the navel of the earth and it is his place for contemplation.
In his later works, Patel’s finely tuned painterliness is seen as the surfaces of his works are mottled with a carefully modulated series of textures. Old age is surely the main subject tackled by these works, but the series of paintings also offer us an opportunity to contemplate mastery.
His poetry works include ‘Poems’ followed by ‘How Do You Withstand’, ‘Body and Mirrored Mirroring.’ His plays include ‘Princes’, ‘Savaksa’ and ‘Mr Behram’. He has been conducting a poetry workshop in Rishi Valley School for over more than a decade. He also edited a collection of poetry, which was published in 2006.
Patel lives and works in Mumbai.