Everyone has a story – A story to share, a story to recall, a story to relate.
Stories are a tiny window into other worlds and other minds. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time. Storytelling has been a special part of our childhood that served us with an escape into our fantasy world.
Sanjay Raut, born in 1976 in a Mahashtrian family has developed an inclination towards stories – Stories that he’s heard from his mother since his childhood of the disciplined learning of the gurukul – system of learning primarily for the Brahmin youth – mentored by a guru, the many nuances therein.
By his own admission, Raut stands fascinated by his culture and continues to be drawn into intricacies. Each of his canvases is a portrayal of a unique moment. There is much to see and an entire religion and its devotees to be understood from his paintings.
A sense of calm pervades in his paintings; they become a place where time stands still and life goes on unhurried, away from the humdrum of the big cities.
His use of strong ochre, pious white and muted greens adds tremendous value bringing to the forefront, the tones and mood accompanying the Hindu religious practices and customs.
His detailing is worth mentioning. The backgrounds delight with their religious wall paintings, fading from exposure to elements, a kind of traditional religious graffiti that is available to see around both rural and urban India even today.
Sanjay draws his visual inspirations from the skeins of his imagination, making the bygone era alive with a vibrant immediacy. He successfully weaves an intricate narrative into his canvas with his bold yet fluid strokes.
His paintings have the quality of photo realism. It’s an idyllic mix of both urbaneness of a temple town with peaceful serenity of the rural. It’s this sense of calm and peace that pervades his paintings.
His depictions bring the viewer a glimpse of an epoch where time sojourns and life goes about at a leisurely pace, distancing itself from the rush hour tensions of everyday urban life in a big city.
This painting titled, “Thought” is suggestive of the internal landscape of the mind. The dark background brings to light the heightened depiction of Lord Ganesha, symbolic of generosity, acceptance and knowledge. Life in gurukul centered on the reception of such virtues. The painting symbolizes the importance of being efficient and adaptable in order to be successful, not monetarily but also spiritually.
The painting echoes the childhood of the artist. The student life is one of the most cherished phases in one’s life. In the painting, the glances of reception and amaze of the Pupil suggest the keenness and newness to learning. The contrasting hues add to the dramatic effect in the painting. The student is a profound receiver of knowledge and reciprocates the same through his focused glances.
Gurukul, the ancient system of intense schooling was no different than the modern day schools in terms of the relationship among pairs. The above painting is an example of the trust and bond that develops among pupils and the comfort they found in each other. The contrast in hues could also be suggestive of the active and passive peer ship among the pupils. The brighter side depicting a positive and trustworthy bond while the darker end of the painting may be assumed to suggest the more submissive and alienated self.
Sanjay says that he can endlessly go on with this thematic exploration. There is never a boring moment. Each image is unique and capsuled in time.
In many ways his works are an eye opener to the outside world of what one seeks on this soil. The artist is a celebrated figure, well renowned for his unique yet captivating style of artwork.