A modernist master of the figurative genre, Manjit Bawa was one of the few artists who took figuration right from the outset. His focus was always on the expressive nature of painting; the translation of line and color into poetry and freedom1. Manjit was born on July 30, 1941 in Dhuri, Punjab, India. He draws inspiration from India’s perennial spirit, music, literature, and poetry. He always felt that beneath his country’s cosmetic changes, India remains in many ways unchanged. Music in particular, has always been an alienable facet to his life, from the tabla he played while his wife Sharada was learning the Sitar, to the Pahari love songs he plays on the bamboo flute at his cherished studio at Dalhousie. Manjit’s childhood memories remain, the Himachali shepherd as he saw him in his travels across the state, the cow's bulls, goats which are an integral part of the Indian metropolis, and now of his works. That visual reference and the recollection of it remains on the periphery of his subconscious, one which reveals itself in Manjit’s work. Manjit has been called by some a Sikh artist, but his sheer range makes categorization redundant. To Manjit, activism is intrinsic to a belief in life. He once organized a peace march during anti-Sikh riots in Delhi in 1991 and has been a founder member of the Committee for Communal Harmony in New Delhi.
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