Celebrating Master Sculptor Himmat Shah

To mark the occasion of the artist's 90th birthday this July, his latest collection of contemporary paintings will be showcased in Jaipur
Celebrating Master Sculptor Himmat Shah
Celebrating Master Sculptor Himmat Shah

Art is a powerful medium that has the ability to touch the deepest recesses of our souls and profoundly impact our lives. It transcends boundaries, connecting people from different cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, evoking emotions and inspiring new perspectives. Art can ignite our imaginations, allowing us to envision new possibilities and explore the depths of our creativity. It can challenge societal norms, provoke thought, and encourage dialogue, fostering a greater understanding and appreciation of diverse perspectives. Whether through paintings, sculptures, music, literature, or performance, art enriches our existence, providing solace, catharsis, and a means of self-expression.

And if you are someone who appreciates art, then the name Himmat Shah might sound familiar to you. Born in 1933 in Lothal, Gujarat, Shah's artistic journey has been marked by his exploration of diverse mediums, including sculpture, painting, drawing, and printmaking. 

The Celebrations

To mark his 90th birthday this year on July 22, the Jaipur Center for Culture and Arts (JCCA) is organizing a special exhibition dedicated to the art life of the master artist. As part of the celebrations, the artist's latest collection of contemporary paintings titles "Under the Mask" will also be showcased. This exhibition, curated by Shree Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya, will have its inaugural ceremony on July 1 at 6 pm. 

The Artist

One of Shah's notable contributions to the art world is his unique approach to sculpture. He is celebrated for his experimental use of materials, particularly terracotta, bronze, and stone. His sculptures often explore human forms and abstract shapes, displaying a fine blend of simplicity and complexity. Shah's artworks reflect his interest in the primitive, the timeless, and the transcendental, creating a sense of contemplation and introspection for viewers. 

In addition to sculpture, Shah has also made significant contributions to painting and drawing. Shah's artistic style is characterized by a fusion of modernist aesthetics with a deep-rooted connection to his cultural heritage.

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Where the Art Is

Throughout his illustrious career, Himmat Shah has exhibited his artworks extensively in India and internationally, earning critical acclaim and recognition. His works can be found in prestigious art collections, including the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi and the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. Himmat Shah's artistic journey is a testament to his creative spirit, innovative approach, and dedication to exploring the depths of human expression. 

About Shah

Himmat Shah had a childhood surrounded by the remnants of the Indus Valley Civilisation's prominent port city. Initially trained as a drawing teacher, Shah later pursued painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts at M.S. University Baroda from 1956 to 1960. In 1967, he received a French Government scholarship and studied etching at Atelier 17 in Paris under Krishna Reddy. Shah became a member of Group 1890, an artists' collective founded by J. Swaminathan.

Throughout his career, he explored various forms and mediums, creating burnt paper collages, architectural murals, drawings, and sculptures, with a primary focus on sculpture. His innovative techniques and self-designed tools give his preferred medium, terracotta, a contemporary touch. Utilizing brushes, instruments, and hand tools, Shah carves, shapes, and moulds his works. From 1967 onwards, he dedicated himself to relief work and sculpture, gaining recognition for his abstracted terracotta and bronze sculptures, particularly his well-known heads in terracotta and bronze.

Shah has exhibited in numerous solo and group shows in India and internationally. He was honoured with the Kalidasa Samman by the Government of Madhya Pradesh in 2003, and he received the Sahitya Kala Parishad Award in New Delhi in 1988. 

Cover photo courtesy Shutterstock

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