The South Asian Times

21 October 2019 16:01 PM

Madhvi Parekh's retrospective opens in NY

By Special to The South Asian Times

New York: A retrospective of New Delhi-based artist Madhvi Parekh, spanning five decades of practice with more than 65 of her works, opened in Manhattan last week.

The Curious Seeker, as the exhibition of her works, was titled, marked debut of Parekh’s work in the US. The retrospective was earlier presented in New Delhi and Mumbai by DAG, a leading art gallery based in the Indian capital.

A preview, in which the artist was present, was held on the Seventh Floor in the Fuller Building on 57th Street on September 12 in coordination with the Consulate General of India. DAG also held a “media walkthrough” of the exhibition the following day.

“Madhvi Parekh has often been narrowly defined with the tradition of folk art in India, yet her practice defies categorization — reflecting her own distinct language as well as wide-ranging influences that deserve further exploration,” a news release quoted Kishore Singh, head of exhibitions and publications at DAG, as saying.

The work of Parekh, who has no formal education, initially evolved from childhood memories, popular folk stories, legends of her village in Gujarat and rangoli, the traditional floor design. She was inspired by her husband Manu Parekh, who studied painting at J.J. School of Arts in Mumbai, and renowned painters.  In most of her work, she has used Kalamkari, the traditional hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile, as well as Pichwai, devotional pictures on cloth or paper.

She has already visited five countries and is planning to visit a few others.

Despite her popularity in Indian art circles, no pride was visible on her face. She has won numerous state and central awards, as well as international certifications. Parekh sounded down to earth and simple in her narrative when this correspondent spoke to her in a brief interview.

“I was a Montessori school teacher in 1964, the year when I began painting. I drew figures from my childhood memories and my instinct helped me. Festival occasions like Diwali inspired me to draw rangoli and other designs,” she said.

Parekh, now 77, had a word of advice for aspiring young artists, particularly Indian-Americans.

“Work hard and with devotion on any subject you choose; focus your attention more on an area like art,” she noted.

One of her best works is The Last Supper (a reverse painting on an acrylic sheet), completed in 2011. The painting, which she had observed in the Italian city of Milan, took a year to complete. Leonard da Vinci, the original painter of that artwork, had worked on that for four years, Parekh pointed out.

Madhvi’s Magical Daydreams, a book aimed at children aged five to 10, describes her childhood and later as a professional artist. The book is available for sale at the exhibition.

The retrospective will run through October 27. There is a possibility that it will be extended, according to the organizers. For more info, write to

Update: 27 Sep, 2019