Renowned yoga guru Bharat Thakur, who spent many years in the mountains studying yoga and "tantra", was a close observer of saintly life up there. His observations and the creative urge to paint merge in his exhibits here.
Thakur, who pioneered a new style of yoga called Artistic Yoga in 1999, is currently exhibiting three bodies of his works -- his self portraits, portraits of babas and sculptures.
"Prayag: The Inner Journey" is open at the India Habitat Centre (IHC) here.
Thakur says being a painter was a hat he always wore, even when he was a boy in the hills.
"I was drawn to it pretty much like how every painter gets drawn to painting. Except, I did not got to a traditional art school. In the mountains, I sketched sometimes on the snow," Thakur, who is married to Bollywood actor Bhumika Chawla, told IANS.
As noted by art patron Kiran Nadar, who inaugurated his solo show, the portraits (of the ascetics) from the Himalayas speak for themselves.
"The features that Bharat has made and the depth of pain that he has captured, shows how well he must have known that life. It must have made a true difference in his life, which turned him from being a yoga guru to an artist," she said.
Thakur himself said that he waited for the artist in him to do justice to his "pet" theme.
"I am an insider when I paint the 'babas' as I have spent many years in the mountains studying Yoga, Tantra, Ashita. Each of the babas has a different practice, and I am in a good position to paint them," he explained, referring to his inspiration from his spiritual lineage of "aghora" and tantra.
In his revelatory self portrait series 'Aham', where he paints himself as a subject, viewers can see the artist turns an intense and piercing gaze inward.
"With the paintings, he is delving deep into the mind and soul of man to cull into the dark recesses to reveal what is yet unknown," a note on the exhibition said.
Through the use of unique form, colours and textures, his series on spiritual gurus has him handle those subjects like a true insider. A vibrant, visual expression of the spiritual messages he seeks to convey through his yoga, Thakur's works can be viewed here till January 10.
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