Pranavanta (1936-2011) – A personal tribute to a true spiritual artist

The beauty of Pranavanta’s life and soul are recorded for us all to see in his life’s work — his amazing art. Four or five years ago we were sitting together in a café enjoying a sunny Sydney winter’s day and he was lamenting that a recent exhibition had not been as successful as he would have hoped. The aspect I enjoy most about Pranavanta’s art is the exquisite detail and his very technical use of colour. Searching for words to console him, what came to my mind as we sat there musing was that Pranavanta is the consummate ‘artist’s artist’. What I meant by this term is that far from being commercial art for the masses, his art could only be truly appreciated by another artist. He sat back for a moment digesting my words and then said sweetly and humbly, “Thank you, Kishore, I will accept that as the highest compliment!” I am not being over-effusive when I say that I really love Pranavanta’s art. It describes for me the beauty of his soul and excuses his sometimes gruff outer nature, for truly all can be forgiven of one who is an artist! And yet he was more than this. As a teacher he would bend the ear of the unsuspecting with a treatise on the sublime nature of form and colour, using examples to hand . . . the delicate shape of a leaf against the electric blueness of the sky . . . Now we can all admire his life’s opus The Making of Paintings with a new appreciation. Recently, Abhinandan and I were having a discussion about Pranavanta’s art while driving over to visit him when suddenly I had another realisation . . . that Pranavanta paints with energy as much as with materials. Form for him doesn’t have to be real or realistic as long as it embodies energy. Then Abhinandan told me that Pranavanta had said that he was not so concerned with capturing a realistic form as much as the energy embodied by that form. So I was right, and it felt good inside to have that particular realisation about his art. We arrived at Pranavanta’s studio-home and after exchanging greetings I exclaimed, “Finally I have realised Art of Living by Kishore that you paint with energy, not with paint.” He just sat there with a big Pranavanta grin on his face. Incidentally, like the impressionists and cubists before him, Pranavanta was quite capable of painting realistically but chose rather to develop his own unique artistic expression. The day after Pranavanta’s passing I had the privilege of spending some time alone in his studio, taking photos of his art. It seemed as though his child-creations were already missing him, as if he had taken his boundless Pranavanta energy with him into the higher worlds and his paintings were somehow duller and almost lifeless. Perhaps they were grieving in a way that we mortals could never appreciate. – Kishore

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