JATIN DAS : Stirring the still air


“One summer afternoon 40 years ago I saw a friend sitting depressed in my studio in Nizamuddin New Delhi. I picked up a pankha (handfan) and with mock seriousness said, “Let me stir the still air.” It suddenly occurred to me that this would be the perfect title for a book on Pankhas, and it was this amazing hand fan that gave me the impetus.

I am a contemporary Indian artist with a deep interest in traditional art forms, I took up this project with a spontaneity and fervor – as I do most things in my life. when an idea is born in my mind, I try to visualize and see the larger picture. the journey of collecting pankha that was envisioned that summer after.noon has come along way since. The collection is now comprised of 8000 fans.” Artist Jatin Das says the pankhas  need to be housed in a museum now though  a small part of the pankha collection will be displayed at the Jatin Das Centre of Arts, a repository of  classical and comtemporary art forms.

For the Padam Bhusan artist, museums as treasure houses of art and culture and heritage are projects close to his heart . The JD Centre of Art in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha is a project that will bring together tribal, folk, classical and contemporary art forms under one roof thereby filling a huge lacuna for such museum projects in post British India. It  is now being set up under Das’s supervision with the government help. Das says that museums in India date back to the colonial days and post Independence no new public museums have come up in India. He says, “We have scant regard for our art and heritage. There are no museums for our rich traditions like terracotta pottery or bronze sculptures or of great Indian master painters like Souza Hussain, Gaitonde. Museums have to be set up by Private Public partnerships like the JD Centre for Art. We also have to inculcate a sense of historicity in our children from a young age through education and involvement so that they grow up valuing our manmade and natural art and heritage.

Jatin Das has procured and collected not only from India but from all over the world art and crafts that include handicrafts, ceramics . sculptures pottery, textiles, stone and wood carvings, photographs, art works and also a large library of books. All this and more will be on display at the JDCA .


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