ANGUISHED ARTIST - IV
Mr. Parasher was an artist who was a class apart. He was very creative and his works
whether they are on a small scale or his public works reflect spiritualism. Hailing from the old Lahore school which saw art entwined with design and architecture Mr. Parasher extended his creativity not only in painting and sculpture but also to common household items like jewelry and many other forms. For him art and creativity could be infused into anything. His journey in the field of art has gone through many phases. Starting from landscapes which he left behind in Pakistan and during partition times when he stayed in the Refugee Camp where he made paintings and sketches which reflected pain and anguish of the people around him. These sketches were done on any kind of paper he found. It could be a page from a copy in which something was already written or any scrap he found. Then gradually when he settled down in Shimla he created lot of landscapes and portrait of hill people. Later on he entered another phase where his works reflected cosmic energy. Later on he went on to create lots of public works and paintings which can be categorized, if I may say so, under modern art but with a tinge of spiritualism. In the later years he took a job in Bombay but finally settled in Delhi in the early 60’s. The house on South Extension in New Delhi with its series of makeshift studios is where he finally made a permanent home. As his children grew and became independent they began to realize their desire to build Mr. Parasher a permanent studio in 1989. As it was being constructed Mr. Parasher was suffering from Leukemia. By the time the studio was finished he knew he would never use it. Looking out into an ideal space at last he said, “I was born to be a poor brahmin.”
Mr. Parasher didn’t want to sell his works and his family continues to respect his wishes. According to an article in India Today where it was written, “The artist’s greatest belief was that art should be practiced as a means, not as an end. He saw himself as a commentator on his times.” Mr. Parasher’s life has been a series of turning points, starting with when Mr. Parasher was studying for his masters in English literature at Lahore. There he met his teacher who saw potential in him. It was under Mr. Aziz his teacher’s supervision that Mr.Parasher went through his initial training until he achieved proficiency in portrait, landscape making and clay modeling. Mr.Parasher does not seem to have strictly followed any particular school, he was an artist whose approach to art was very modern and the inner urge to combine all elements of art to produce a beautiful works which had rhythm and a spiritual approach in them too.
The landscape sculpture,”Undivided Punjab” in Leisure valley, Sector -10 Chandigarh is
another example or his public works. It was designed by Mr.Parasher in 1967.The 16 foot sculpture was conceived with an idea of reorganization of Punjab i.e present day Punjab Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The form comes out of a circular pool as if raised to a circular sway. Square shapes are imprinted and extols the language of pure form and the text of a poem by Puran Singh and Punjabi folk songs are also imprinted on this sculpture. The sculpture is a wall with curves as the folds of a cloth. There are hollow shapes here and there on the wall. The hollow shapes have lot of movement. The rhythm and flow of this sculpture is beautiful. This sculpture stands out in the Leisure valley as a marvelous piece of art.This work of Mr. Parasher is like a timeless piece of art.
In early 60s, he was acclaimed to be one of the most significant sculptures and painters. He never forgot the ancient Indian traditions while producing a work of art. In 1959 when Jawahar Lal Nehru visited Mr.Parasher exhibition of sculptures in Delhi he exclaimed, “Your works are very powerful.” When Le Corbusier selected Mr. Parasher’s design for steel sculpture mural in Chandigarh he was struck by the intense significance of the forms of his design in relation to the architectural space. Le Corbusier commented,
“Parasher’s design is most interesting.”
Mr. Parasher was a very private person who did not like his art being displayed. It is only
after his death that the family displayed his works. Some of his books are displayed in the
Partition museum, Amritsar. One such sketch which is named, 'Cheekh’ is drawn on a scrap of paper available at the Refugee Camp. His sketches are a testament of all that was lost. In the sketch, a bare chested man with a topknot, shut eyes and an open mouth raises an arm to his head. While the sketch might be silent his mouth tells the devastating tale of anguish.
The artist had his own unique perception which gave his creative work the spiritual touch. Each of his work was beautiful and different from his other works but his own style reflected in each of them. The love and the loss which he lost during the torrid times of the Partition are clearly evident in all his creative endeavors. The soul of his being comes out with utmost beauty and simplicity in all his works.