On the life and works of Dashrath Patel
6:30pm – 8:00 pm
High Tea at 6:00 pm
27 September, 2019 - 27 September, 2019
Bangalore International Centre
Pinakin Patel, founder of the Dashrath Patel Museum in Alibaug, near Mumbai, talks about the life and works of the prolific artist, designer and educator, Dashrath Patel, exploring his significance, legacy and more on 27 September 2019 at the Bangalore International Centre.
The Padma Shri and Padman Bhushan awardee, polymath Dashrath Patel, was a man who wore many hats: design pedagogue, skilled painter, exhibition designer, photographer, ceramics artist, sculptor, and institution builder. An artist from L’Ecole Beaux-Arts, who shared the Bhulabhai Desai Studios with contemporary artists Husain, Raza, Gaitonde and Padamsee, Dashrath Patel surprisingly receives no mention in books on Modern & Contemporary Indian Art.
As the Founder-Secretary of Education at the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, Patel laid the foundation for professional design practice and pedagogy in India, nurturing the institution for two decades from the sixties to the eighties. In his time at NID, he interacted and worked with several luminaries like Charles and Ray Eames, Frei Otto, Corbusier and Louis Kahn. Yet he is rarely mentioned or shown in any design journals or exhibitions.
A pre-cursor to India’s new media art movements, in 1967, Patel presented a multi-screen 360° projection of A Journey in India at the Montreal Fair, without any access to high-tech equipment. The photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson, invited Dashrath to apprentice with him for several years. Rather than searching for the perfect shot, Patel built up a visual narrative of his country, high on academic content. The dramatic openings of the Festivals of India in France and USSR involved co-ordinating thousands of craftsmen and performers, for a global television audience. Besides the pictures he took of those events, there are few to be found.
After NID, in the eighties, Patel took up rural development in the Gandhi Ashram in Sewapuri, near Benares. For eight years he lived there and trained the villagers to produce ‘well designed’ consumer products. However, globalisation brought in ‘styled’ products from outside, and by the early nineties, sustainable design was largely forgotten. Dashrath Patel, however, remained optimistic until his last day – robust, energetic, a strategist and visionary, who could use his own hands to make everything he conceptualised.
Pinakin Patel is an architect, interior designer, furniture designer, artist and thinker who spends his spare time learning Hindustani classical music and reading Indian philosophy. A chemistry graduate, who found his heart in the creative disciplines, Pinakin Patel is widely recognised as setting up the first lifestyle store in India when he opened ‘Etcetera’ in 1984, with his own line of furniture and accompanying art textiles and accessories. His long list of impressive projects include the interiors of The Museum Gallery in Mumbai and the Karl Khandalawala Wing at the Prince of Wales Museum. At the request of the NGMA Mumbai, he has also curated a show on Street Art, titled ‘The Innate and the Informed’. In early 2000, he left the city in search of beauty and peace, moving to Alibaug where he currently lives and works. In 2005, he re-launched his furniture store in Mumbai called PINAKIN. The highlight of his career is the patronage of R S Agarwal, Kolkata, who gave Pinakin the total freedom to conceive and design what is now ‘The Kolkata Centre of Creativity’.