Bhanu Shah is one of India’s most eminent artists, and a celebrated modern abstract painter. Born on January 5,1935, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Bhanu Shah has traversed through ages of pre-independence era to post-independence and then to the most progressive era of the Indian Art history.
Bhanu Shah studied Fine Arts in his graduation in 1956 and then gained a Post-graduate diploma in Museologyfrom Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda. In the college, he used to paint beautiful landscapes, which seemingly empowered him by expressing himself strongly.
In 1960, he silently stood some time near his landscapes to wonder how he wishes to go further. By then, he had great affection for drawing landscapes, and this experience had begun to unfold in his newer works. Somewhere in his subconscious, the impression of the landscapes had drawn a stream forth, which made it look a semi abstract. His journey had begun as an abstract painter and he did his solo show at the prestigious Taj Art Gallery in 1964-65, which was ink on paper. He has always believed that as an abstract painter you should have real expressions and that should be visible in your work.
Those used to be the times when an artist would take up to one medium or style and continue in that genre. But as an artist, Bhanu Shah went a step further with perhaps wanting to “express without strings.” Later, he began to use collages, relief, wood and acrylics on paper, his pure instincts wanted him to explore more with each new work. The passion, excitement and determination continued and inspired him to gradually painting with oil on canvas and watercolours on paper.
As time changed, he began experimenting in different mediums and techniques: from collage works to canvas, relief works, ink on paper, oil, wood, water colour, acrylic, and more. During all these, Bhanu Shah remained in solidarity with his consummate art. His artistic faith was growing and getting established within him. It was his previous command and ink’s expression he had achieved, which converted beautifully into oil and won him the major acclaim―the National Award in 1968.
One of his earlier favourite mediums used to be making paper collages as he found tearing the paper and creating work of art. But, when it comes to satisfaction of being an artist, he prefers oil on canvas. It gives him a number of variations in colours and tones, and satisfies him impeccably than anything else. Later on in early seventies, he started creating highly decorative relief pieces with the use of metallic gold and silver. It was during this period that he began asking himself whether he was a painter or a craftsman. He decided to leave it behind and went on to pursue with his own instincts - to pursue the relief work.
Today, he is widely regarded as the most exciting and spectacular artist working in contemporary colours, and is credited with enriching medium to groundbreaking fine art. Due to his distinctive style of abstract painting in oils, he has gained widespread recognition and admiration. His quest for art and distinguished style of painting is an inspiration for many generations.
Bhanu Shah has held over 31 solo and 49 group exhibitions, both nationally and internationally. He has received several awards and recognitions across major states of India. There are several significant collections of Shah’s works across the world, including those established in the United Kingdom, continental Europe, USA and India. His major exhibition on the Rāga series displayed at Marvel Art Gallery in Ahmedabad was widely applauded. The Rāga series is a critically acclaimed, powerful body of work, which gives an insight into his style. Shah has donated several of his works for charity shows across India and recently donated his entire show for the Child Cancer Foundation in New Zealand.
Over the past few years, he has been a part of various publications, such as Stitch in Gujarat Embroidery, Art Kites of India, Wood Carvings of Gujarat, Love Sculptures of India, Step Wells of Gujarat, Illustrated and Engraved Metal Objects of India, Tribal Women of Gujarat, Stitch Drawings and Wednesday Night and Tadtariya Collection of Poems.
In addition, he has given two remarkable International lectures at Den Haugh Museum, Holland and Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
The creations and collection of this eminent painter and art kite collector can be appreciated at the Kite Museum, Ahmedabad, which has given him a worldwide recognition as a director and designer for the Kite Museum. His art kites exhibitions have taken place in USA, France, Jodhpur, Baroda and Ahmedabad, and he himself has attended more than 21 International Kite Festivals in France, UK, Thailand, Dubai and in India.