Prakruti Purush – Works on Shiva Solo Exhibition

by Jatin Das

“I am not in the mind, not intellect, nor ego, nor the reflections of the inner self. Not the ear, nor the tongue, not the nose, nor the eyes. I am not the ether, nor the earth, nor the fire, nor the wind. I am that blissful consciousness I am Shiva I am Shiva. 

(Shiva means auspicious, beneficial)

Normally, I don’t like to talk about my work. Neither at a show nor in a brochure.

In my early days, I had a little Shiva murti in the house and I used to offer it flowers. For no reason. I am not a religious person but I come from a traditional Indian family where puja, prarthana and all the festivals are celebrated. 

In the last 60 years, I have visited innumerable temples and sculpture sites in the country. I always get very excited and inspired by the free spirit of Shiva. I believe, any artist worth their salt, must see the Ellora Caves. The Monolithic stone carving and scale of it is just mindboggling. I have done thousands of sketches there. Many of my figurations have the charge of Shiva dancing. I am fascinated by the poetic, metaphoric, philosophical and spiritual aspects of rhythm, the Brahma Rekha figurines.

Recently, I did a large mural at the Adani Headquarters. But before I started work on it, I did a lot of drawings, sketches, watercolour and ink drawings to free my hand, to free my thoughts. So, in the two years in Ahmedabad, along with the mural, I also painted on little canvases and boards; some etchings and on terracotta platters (tawdi), series of works on the same theme.

As I drew and painted, the works took the energy of Shiva Shakti. I began to visualise the series on Shiva as Prakruti and Purush. There cannot be any form unless there is Prakruti. It is Ardhanarishwar. I was amazed to see an Ardhanarishwar sculpture even in Egypt! And when somebody read out the various forms of Shiva, to my surprise, they befitted the postures that I had painted.

I never pick a theme to draw or paint. I work and it flows and I follow that journey. I turned 80 on the 2nd of December 2021. I have seen many tough times in my life and now I am tired. Yet I continue my journey”

– Jatin Das