Shanti Panchal: Paintings of Exile and Home
15th May – 8th June 2013
Piano Nobile is pleased to announce a major show of new work by Shanti
Panchal: Paintings of Exile and Home. A London-based, Indian-born painter,
Panchal is renowned for his large-scale watercolours of subtle vibrancy,
whose subject matter is at once challengingly contemporary and timelessly
In the early 1980s Panchal developed a remarkably innovative way of
painting, whereby 'watercolour is not just painted on the surface but injected
into the paper many times, and I scrape that with hard oil-paint brushes and
use blotting paper. The kind of depth you achieve is amazing'.
Born in Mesar, a village in Gujarat, India in the mid-to-late 1950s (his exact
birth-date is unknown), he studied at the Sir JJ School of Art in Bombay before
coming to England on a British Council scholarship to study at the Byam Shaw
School of Art, London from 1978-80. He has lived and worked in London since
then with frequent trips back to India.
In the artist's own words, his figurative works are filled with a 'contemplative
stillness and tranquility, which at first belies the complex interplay of emotions
and relationships between the figures depicted'.
His spaciously abstracted paintings are partly inspired by Indian miniaturist
painting and Buddhist frescoes but also by the visionary figuration of El Greco,
Mark Rothko's immense fields of colour and the haunting backdrops of Francis
Panchel has had numerous one-person shows in British public galleries and
abroad. He was awarded a prize at the BP Portrait Award at the National
Portrait Gallery, and received First and (later) Second Prizes at The Sunday
Times Watercolour Competition (in 2001 and 2012). His work is in many public
collections, including Arts Council England, The British Museum and The Ruth
Borchard Collection of Self-Portraits. The Imperial War Museum have acquired
two major paintings by him for their collection.