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Prafulla Mohanti’s works on view at Mumbai based Lansdowne Gallery

Prafulla Mohanti is an acclaimed writer and distinguished painter of Indian origin. Born in a village in Orissa, he went to the UK in 1960 after his graduation in Architecture from the Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai. In 1964 he completed a Diploma in town planning at Leeds. Before he devoted himself to art and literature, he served as an architect-planner for the Greater London Council for several years.

In his work Mohanti concentrates on the concept of cosmogony in the Indian tradition that anticipates the cosmogony of modern science, deriving the endlessly expanding universe from a primordial atom. His paintings largely comprise bright concentric circles in red, yellow and blue. The concepts of the bindu (the dot) and Mandala (the universe) have inspired the London based artist. The core of his work is the expansion of the dot ' the beginning and spreading out -the abstruse metaphysics of the relationship between the dot and the vast, expanding cosmos of the physicists.

Elaborating on the inspiration behind his works, he states: 'My painting is rooted in my village culture, which is influenced by yoga and tantra. Art is a part of daily life. The villagers decorate the walls and floors of their mud houses with rice paste for festivals and ceremonies. The lotus is the main symbol. The lotus of my childhood has undergone changes through abstraction, from a circle to a point. Absolute abstraction makes it disappear. From this nothingness life begins again and becomes everything, the total universe.'

He bemoans the gradual dissipation of the good old village life - the impact of the global economic system: 'When this culture gets obsolete, people go to school and college to learn about it. The cosmos I knew is still there in my memory, but it does not exist any more in the village. The cosmos of my childhood has been destroyed.'

The artist is also known to voice his viewpoint on ethnic issues and concerns of immigrants. Physically the world is fragmented, but he believes that spiritually, it can be one.

Prafulla Mohanti's works are on view till the end of the April 2007 at Lansdowne Gallery, Mumbai.

images courtesy of Lansdowne Gallery

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