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Artist Profile1
Paresh Maity’s passionate painted realm
Rightly termed a 'romantic' painter, Paresh Maity treats life and art as an endless celebration. With 54 solos across the globe and his works housed in several prestigious international collections, he has indeed come a long way.

Paresh Maity has emerged as one of the most promising contemporary Indian artists. However, his path to success has been one full of hurdles and hardships. Born in Tamluk, West Bengal, in 1965, he completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Government College of Art and Crafts, Kolkata. He did his Masters at College of Art, New Delhi. While doing his graduation, he had to rush to the art college after a grinding four hour-long journey from his nondescript village. He would board a bus; request truck drivers for a lift; walk or run as the last resort, and then would undergo the four-hour ordeal back home. If he missed the last bus to his village, he had to pass through a graveyard in total darkness.

The journey was like a drama every day, but he never reached the college late or missed his lectures. The determined artist arrived in Delhi by sheer coincidence. As an art student, he would do illustrations and book covers for publications. Noticing his work, the Hyderabad University Dean invited him for a post graduation course. Incidentally, a Delhi based gallerist called him for a show. He though, ended up showing his works at a competition, where he not only received the first prize, but also had all his works sold! He then enrolled at Delhi College of Art, and never looked back after that…

Paresh Maity has won many prestigious awards, starting with a gold medal from USSR in 1983; Government of West Bengal award for watercolor painting in 1985; Jamini Roy Birth Centenary Celebration Award (1987); Governor’s Gold Medal from Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata (1988); National Scholarship (1989); AIFACS award for best watercolor painting (1990); an award by Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Kolkata in 1990; Harmony Award in 1999; and one from Royal Watercolour Society, London in 2002.

Among his selected solo exhibitions are 'Montage Moments Memories', Jehangir Art Gallery; Art Musings, Mumbai (2009); ‘An Enchanting Journey - Paresh Maity's Kerala’, Art Alive, Delhi (2008); and ‘Paresh Maity: Drawings, Paintings, Sculptures, Photographs’, CIMA, Kolkata (2007). His selected group exhibitions include 'Symbols and Metaphors', CIMA, (2010); 'Mark of Masters -2', Art and soul, Mumbai (2009); 'Think Small', Art Alive (2009); 'Beyond the Form', Bajaj Capital Art House; India Habitat Centre, Delhi and Jehangir Art Gallery (2009); 'Review', CIMA (2009); and ‘Young Guns’ at Institute of Contemporary Indian Art (ICIA), Mumbai in 2007.

Capturing the different hues of his vivacious visual journey, Delhi based Art Alive Gallery recently conceived a show and documentation, entitled 'The World on Canvas'. An accompanying essay mentioned: “Travels that form an integral part of his life lie at the heart of his art. An indefatigable traveler, he has traversed the continents, seeking inspiration from landscapes and monuments, from history and people, from cities and hamlets.

“His travels, which have taken him to many destinations in India and abroad, have shaped his palette as he has instinctively imbibed the essence of each place in his work. Paresh Maity has the ability to perch anywhere to sketch, draw or paint, amidst crowds or all by himself, as he records his impressions in what has become a visual diary of his painterly life. In this visual voyage that is as much about self-discovery as story-telling he creates some of his most endearing and refreshing works on these destinations.”

‘The World on a Canvas’ features the artist’s works from 1983 to the present, including his drawings, watercolors, oils, mixed media and sculptures. Drawn from his travels over the years they signify his passion to understand the people, places and the different cultures. Complementing this enchanting visual journey are Nemai Ghosh’s arresting portraits of the artist at work.

He has also been shooting for three decades. In fact, video is another medium that he has added to his vast repertoire. One of his two new short documentaries has been shot at different destinations like Kolkata, Mumbai and Kanyakumari, capturing natural sounds. The other is shot in Rajasthan last winter. The films relate to his art; they don’t have a narrative, but are astute abstractions. Summing up the essence of his practice, Paresh Maity notes: “I have traveled all over the world. Travel is a part of me. Each travel has changed my work.”