Indian artist Paresh Maity recently became the first recipient of the Editor’s Award at a glittering ceremony hosted to celebrate the Eastern Eye Arts, Culture and Theatre Awards (ACTAs).
British actor and film-maker, Hamza Jeetooa (Luther, Being Human, Capital) presented the special ACTA award to Maity, recognising him for his achievements as an global artist and his profound contributions to the art community.
While presenting this award Hamza said: “Paresh Maity is one of the leading contemporary artists of his time and is regarded as India’s leading water colour painter – from a humble background not far from Kolkata, he was initially self-taught but slowly began to establish a strong reputation. His water and boats series brought him to the attention of the art community in India and since then he has gone onto become one of India’s most important painters”.
On receiving the prize, Maity said that since he started painting, art represented a way of exploring the borders between cultures through colour, celebrating the many facets of life and different perspectives.
He commented: “Winning this award is an incredible experience. I have always been inspired by our world of colours. My travels, which have taken me to many new countries, form an integral part of my life and my art. Our world is diverse and we need to celebrate that diversity – the way our individual and social lives intersect and bring vibrancy to the world. Colour is life; it is the universe. Without colour and the play of light and shade, life will cease. Art has a unique ability to transcend the everyday – whilst the common discourse tells us that different people and cultures are all antagonistic towards each other – art reminds us that we are all part of the same canvas.”
Calling watercolours his ‘heart and soul’, Paresh is best recognised for his vibrant, passionate, colourful paintings that have been displayed across the world and in some of the most prestigious private and public collections. These include the British Museum, the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, and the Vatican Embassy in New Delhi.
Maity’s other accolades include the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society Award for Best Watercolour painting, the Award for Outstanding Painting from Birla Academy of Art and Culture, the British Council Visitorship Award, Royal Watercolour Society Award the Dayawati Modi Award for Art, Culture and Education and most recently the Padmai Shri Award from the Government of India.
Anita Choudhrie, founder of the Stellar International Art Foundation, commented: “Paresh is a man who believes in humanity first and this ACTA award is a testament to that humanist ideal that inspires everything he does. It goes without saying, that this shows through in his creativity of colours and ingenuity on canvas. Paresh’s spontaneity and imagination are vast and unique, and no doubt have helped him win professional and complimentary accolades across India and now internationally.”
The Stellar International Art Foundation, founded by the Choudhrie Family, is one of the first patrons of Paresh Maity, commissioning him to make early watercolours of their vintage cars after meeting him over his very first exhibition in Delhi in the 1990s. From this period, the Foundation has taken ownership of much of his oeuvre, including his largest series of watercolours, 57 pieces of Venice.
The Eastern Eye ACTAs are set to be a leading event in the annual arts calendar, recognizing the very best of British South-Asian talent.
Attending the ceremony were Asif Kapadia, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Meera Syal, Nish Kumar, Nikesh Patel, Naughty Boy, Preeya Khalidas, Nihal Arthanayake, Shazia Mirza, Shanti Panchal, Ram Shergill, Sonia Sabri and Ed Vaizey MP, Minister of State at the Department for Culture, Media & Sport.
Among the judging panel were Nihal Arthanayake (BBC Asian Network presenter), Louise Jury (former Arts critic for the Evening Standard and now Director of Communications and Strategy for the Creative Industries Federation), Shaheen Khan (actress as seen in Midnight’s Children), and Eastern Eye’s own representatives, managing editor and executive editors, Kalpesh R Solanki and Shailesh R Solanki.
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2014 The Global Indian New Network (TGINN)