S. Dhanapal: The Draughtsman in the Sculptor consists of 52 private drawings and paintings from the family collection of seminal Indian sculptor, Professor S. Dhanapal, pioneer artist of South Indian Modernism who sadly passed away in 2000. The exhibition spotlights this prominent artist of the Dravidian modern art movement for the very first time in the West, giving particular attention to the sculptor’s great talent for painting and drawing, a largely uncharted area of distinguishable skill and expertise.
The exhibition demonstrates the progression of an artist over six crucial decades in Indian history: spanning from the early days of Indian Independence from British rule (and its consequent effect on Indian artistic identity) through to a strengthening India by the late 1990s and, as such, a rising sense of South Indian artistic individualism and power. One perceives in the exhibition a clear progression from British academic naturalistic painting and drawing to an invigorated feeling for abstraction and line by the end of Dhanapal’s life. In this way the works are illustrations of a time of great artistic and social shift.
The exhibition opens to the public on the 26th October and will certainly be very popular with all enthusiasts of Indian contemporary art throughout the UK, not to mention high-end investors and collectors in this field. Only twenty out of the fifty-two works in the exhibition will be on sale – a rare opportunity to collect the work of a late master of Indian art history.
The exhibition will be the long-awaited second show at The Noble Sage, London’s first specialist gallery dedicated to Indian contemporary art. This exciting new space provides a revolutionary channel for people across the UK to access high quality paintings and sculptures from the growing art markets in South Asia.
The Noble Sage Director, Jana Manuelpillai, says: “I am so proud to be the first to bring the work of Professor S. Dhanapal to the shores of the UK. Dhanapal was a crucial artist at the turning point in South Indian modernism. He was a principal of Madras College of Arts and Crafts and was the teacher and guru for such eminent artists as K.M. Adimoolam, Anthony Doss, A.P. Santhanaraj and R.B. Bhaskaran. Not only a remarkable personality with a gift for everything from bonsai trees to Indian classical dance, Dhanapal also had an extraordinary gift for drawing and painting that equalled his renowned sculptural talent. It seems fitting that Dhanapal should be celebrated with a large-scale show of his most private of drawings and paintings. I am so thankful to his family for entrusting us with these treasures and allowing us to bring them to the UK.”