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An artist keen to carry forward his father’s rich artistic legacy
Though Ratnadeep Gopal Adivrekar belongs to a family with a good background of art, he was keen to get into something different, and hence joined the science stream. However, the shift was just short-lived and temporary. The passion for art running in his veins was obviously too intense to ignore. And soon he told himself, I want and must be a painter. Once the thought struck his mind, he spoke about it his father, one of India’s most renowned master painters, The latter advised him to do what ‘he would like to do’.

His encouraging words proved to be extremely precious. Indeed, during the formative years, his father remained a major source of motivation and guidance to him, and helped the budding painter a great deal thanks to his inimitable way of elucidating on basic concepts of art. The father-son duo often engaged into meaningful discussions about art and their own works. This enhanced Ratnadeep’s knowledge and also fine tuned the skills as an artist .

Gopal Adivrekar, himself a master painter, was renowned for captivating canvases that drew from the beautiful coastline of scenic Konkan - its pristine sea, black rocks glistening in the glowing sun, golden sands, clouds, and birds. An eminent abstract painter of his times, he took the genre of non-figurative art to a new high with his imagination and innovation. Ratnadeep, on the other hand, has achieved specialization in post-modern art. The upcoming and talented artist carries a proud legacy that he wants to stay true to, as he has said: “Being his son, people do have certain expectations from me. I, however, through my work have managed to build my own identity."

His process of working is often based on elective creative process. The focal point of his work has been to build his art out of public spheres. His ‘Memoirs of the unreal city’ was about the fast growing and overpowering metropolis. Outlining his artistic motivations, he has noted: “As an artist there is a constant process of re-examination - to dig out the roots for identity. I try to reconstruct sublime personal and historical memories that fade in and out of my work. I’m interested in the way a painting can portray the existential human condition by showing an instantaneous chronology comprised of all coexisting events of one's life. I try to unify the painting by composition of several images into a whole that manages to be organized and messy, arbitrary yet peculiarly logical.”

The artist did his Bachelor of Fine Arts (Painting) from Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai, in 1997. His ‘Memoirs of The Unreal City’ won him the ‘Emerging Artist of the Year’ award at the Harmony show in 2003. The panel of judges, which comprised eminent personalities like Dr. Sarayu Doshi, Harsh Goenka, Dilip De, Vickram Sethi, Tina Ambani and Mala Singh, lauded him as an artist ‘with a distinctly unique style that captures the viewer's attention.’ He won the Bendre Hussain Scholarship in 2002 and received the Maharashtra State Art Award in the same year apart from securing National Scholarship by Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi (2001). Among other awards won by him are The Governors Prize, The Bombay Art Society (1999), and Merit Certificate at The Bombay Art Society exhibitions (1994, 96).

He received immense applause after an exhibition in Singapore - a major step ahead for the passionate painter in his promising artistic journey. ‘Proverbial in(er)vention (2009)’ at the NUS Museum proved to be a major milestone in his career. The works that formed part of it revolved around a set of proverbs, as the title suggested. They formed interpretative traps for the viewer, and set them thinking. Providing an insight into his oeuvre, independent writer-curator Abhijeet Gondkar had mentioned in an essay: “His work stems from a kind of visual synthesis, layered with scientific documentation, allegories, mythology, symbolism, documentary footages and history. Leading one to revert to narratival explanations as a way of grasping the status of the art work and its gestures as a socially symbolic act or illustrate a series of overlapping and over determined social constraints, reasons and responsibilities.”

Among his other selected shows are a solo at Crimson- The Art Resource, Bangalore (2010); ‘Refraction of ideas’, Artists Centre, Mumbai (2004); an exhibition at Crimson (2002); ‘Souvenirs from Journeys Within', Kala Academy, Panaji (2000); a show at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai (1999), and ‘Memoirs of the Unreal City and Findings through Journeys', Y.B. Chavan Art Gallery, Mumbai (1998). His group exhibitions include ‘Future and Present’, National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai (2005); ‘Indian contemporary art’, Chelsea Art College, U.K. (2005); ‘Ardhanareshwar’, Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai (2005). He has participated in Golden Jubilee Exhibition of Jehangir gallery (2002); 44th National Art Exhibition, (LKA), Ahmedabad (2001); 43rd National Art Exhibition, LKA, Bangalore (2001) and the 'Harmony Show' (2000-05).

Summing up his processes, he has noted: “I am interested in the associational nature of thinking itself and sometimes a deliberate act of misunderstanding that can become poetry, because you then have to imagine its elements. Systematic-chaos or chaotic-system either works for me. In quest of knowledge I am self contradicting.” Achievements and recognition that his father - also his guide, mentor and teacher, got have been a constant source of inspiration, albeit bringing with it an added sense of responsibility, for Ratnadeep Adivrekar. Art lovers obviously have high expectations from him. And he hasn’t let them down, gradually creating an identity for himself, in the process.