Manjit Bawa (1941 – 2008) completed his art education from Delhi School of Art, New Delhi and London School of Painting, Essex, United Kingdom. For Manjit Bawa, one of India’s leading painters today, the source of inspiration was his native Punjab – Pahari miniature traditions, folk lore, love songs of Heer Ranjha and Sohni Mahiwal, Krishna legends and the mystical poetry of the Sufi mystics like Bula Shah.
Manjit’s approach to both figures and colours was daring. His pastoral landscapes were free from any western influence and bore traces of the Pahari painting tradition. Bawa’s own poetic vision came into play with his use of colours and forms. His figures were boneless and puffy, painted in soft and lighter hues and set against a flat brilliantly coloured background of vivid greens, purples, reds and magenta. The Krishna-like youth with a flute, the enthralled cattle, the cloud-like lion, the moustachio-ed hero and the incandescent vegetation, all coalesce to create an illusion of an Arcadia, where man and beast share a deep affinity and were involved in a ‘choreography’ of small indolent movements.