20 September, 2020

Pilgrim's Progress

An intense examination of painter Sabavala's 'otherness'

Pilgrim's Progress

JEHANGIR Sabavala is one of those people who seem elegant in casual clothes, which for him include a carefully knotted cravat. He is by nature courteous and can, on occasion, be dryly witty. The more civilised aspects of western culture are embedded not only in his manners but in his mind; he abhors carelessness and unpunctuality, and believes that one should be concerned for other people. He is now 75, and has been painting for most of that time. The statements and observations made by his paintings are achieved by echoes of experience, by hints and whispers from his palette, by understatement. He is completely unlike any other Indian painter.

Sabavala is also, to my mind, the most distinguished of all living Indian painters. Many poets have been fascinated by his work. At his best, he creates a world and a mythology of his own, as some good poets do. He presents us with nearly barren landscapes, cloud formations above them that admit a white sear of light; in this light, dunes, serrated by wind, spread out towards...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

More from Dom Moraes

Latest Magazine

September 28, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section