Tradition and fusion: how this artist blends ‘Indianness’ in themes with Western techniques in paints


Mumbai’s Jehangir Art Gallery recently featured a thematic collection of paintings by award-winning artist Douglas John, titled ‘Inner Divinity.’

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Mumbai’s premier Jehangir Art Gallery recently hosted an exhibition titled ‘Inner Divinity,’ featuring the works of award-winning artist-professor Douglas John. Originally from Solapur, Douglas came to Mumbai at the age of 16, and studied at the J.J. School of Art.

Awestruck by the spirit and diversity of the city, he launched his first solo painting exhibition, titled ‘Mumbai Déjà vu.’ His second exhibition, ‘Light ‘n’ Light,’ was themed on the pilgrims devoted to Shri Siddharameshwara. The next exhibition, ‘In Search of Light,’ continued this quest.

Pilgrimage involves devotion, reflection, social gathering, and processions along routes set over centuries, explained Douglas in a chat with YourStory. The exhibition shows diverse variations of similar themes: the simplicity of white robes, landscapes, lighting, and the use of gold colour as a reflection of the indestructible nature of faith.

The acrylic works reflect a mix of “Indianness” in themes along with Western techniques in paints, Douglas added. The paintings with many of the figures showing their backs to the audience evoke a sense of curiosity in viewers, who want to inject themselves in the conversations.

Now what have you done today to find your own creative connections between past and present, between local roots and global influences?

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