About Jagmohan Bangani
Born in Bangan, a collection of forty-two small villages in the hill regions of Garhwal, Jagmohan Bangani did his M.A. Drawing & Painting from D.A.V. College Dehradun, India. Even as an artist he remained involved with several NGOs. In 2005 he received the prestigious Ford Foundation Fellowship under the International Fellowship Program, New York, and went to the Winchester School of Art, U.K. for an M.F.A. Painting, having returned to India just a month ago. A many times awarded young man, Bangani pleases with his gentle manners and quiet conviction of what he wishes to do with himself and his art. He has so far held a solo show in Dehradun, participated in many group shows, and received several scholarships.
Jagmohan has had a good hand in writing since a very young age, come as he does from a region of the sub-continent where the art of writing by hand is not yet passé. Very early in life he was making posters on request, furthering his expertise on the written script. At college, having begun as a sincere student of art he pursued the realistic imagery to perfection, portraying the local people of Garhwal. Over 2004-5 he was displaying superb draughtsmanship in a robustly figured Soldier series representing himself as the soldier. The eventual shift to the relatively non-formal representation therefore had not skipped any steps, when as part of his project for the Masters course at Winchester he made a move towards the written script as the base and object of his art.
Script had always interested Jagmohan, particularly in Sanskrit, and so what better than the Gayatri Mantra to launch his new approach to painting. The Gayatri Mantra is a highly revered mantra in Hinduism, second only to the mantra Om, the very sound or even thought of which is believed to set grace to every human act. But principally, it was not the content of the mantra that initiated our artist into selecting it as his form in art, but rather the norm of repeating it a hundred and eight times in prayer that attracted him to it as a suitable base for the visual effect he had in mind. So while the Gayatri Mantra remained the leitmotif of his trysts with the Sanskrit script, folk songs and simple poems were deployed by him in Hindi, and common everyday expressions that occur several times a day, like ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’, were picked up for the English alphabet.
He finds these repetitions useful in forging connections between idea and expression. The different layers of colour are to catch the moments passing while he works, wherein each layer of colour reflects his frame of mind of the moment.
Moving from bottom to top layer upon layer, he paints the text free hand, using alternate spaces as he moves from bottom to top. The use of opaque and transparent colours both in oil and acrylic help him achieve the desired effect keeping the language and script discernible yet not readable, for readability is not the intended purpose for Jagmohan. A visually rich combination of lyric, geometry and the charkas,
Coupled with the layering of letters infuses a mystic and sanctified atmosphere into the works, especially those based on Sanskrit. For, the artist grades his colours via the drip technique to extremely good effect, controlling his colours somewhat in the manner of the colour wheel.
The Hindi and English based works on the other hand have been invested with a more poster like character, rather in keeping with their lighter, more basic messages. But that apart, this young man’s choice of colours and control of medium are his strongest attributes, in turn adding up to some extremely commendable compositions. The circular composition Gayatri Mantra, for instance is easily a masterpiece, with Buddha, Date of Birth-II, Exit, the larger part of the diptych Mantras II, No Parking, Song I and The End as close contenders.
Working on such diverse subjects Jagmohan looks forward to using texts from other languages as well. It would indeed be interesting to see him challenge himself with the Persian/Arabic script, lending a new dimension to traditional calligraphy usual to both these scripts. While it is not unusual to incorporate text variously into art by artists the world over, including our own miniature arts, particularly the Jain miniatures, as well as Persian calligraphy and so on, Jagmohan Bangani’s approach and technique are all his own, one which he diligently seeks to develop. A promising artist, it would be interesting to follow this young man’s progression in art over the years.
2000: M.A. Drawing & Painting, D.A.V. Collage Dehradun, India
2007: M.F.A. Painting, Winchester School of Art, Winchester, U.K.
2002: Research Scholarship, Lalit Kala Akademy, New Delhi, India
2002: Uttaranchal State AIFACS Award, AIFACS, New Delhi, India
2006: Ford Foundation Fellowship, International Fellowship Program, New York, U.S.A.
2004: Dehradun, India
2007: Gallery Pioneer, Hauz-Khas Village New Delhi
Group Exhibitions/ Participations
1999: CANVAS, Dehradun
2001- 07: Uttaranchal Kala Parishad, Dehradun
2001: UNIPACE, New Delhi
2003: Doon Creative Group, Lalit Kala Academy New Delhi
2004: Habi Art Gallery, India Habitat Center, New Delhi
2005: Two men show, Hotel Ashoka, New Delhi
2005: Uttarakhand Kalakar Samiti, Lalit Kala Akademy in New Delhi
2005: Livable Art Group Show at Visual Art Gallery Indian Habitat Centre Organized by M.E.C. Art Gallery.
2005, 08: Lalit Kala Akademi. New Delhi
2006: Collective Spaces 06 at India Habitat Centre Organized by M.E.C. Art Gallery.
2007: Endearing Palette at India Habitat Centre Organized by M.E.C. Art Gallery.
2007: VOYAGER, Egglisstadir, Iceland
2007: Winchester School of Art, Winchester, United Kingdom
2001: All India Art Camp by AIFACS New Delhi
2002: 12th Yuva Mahotsava Camp by Sahitya Kala Parishad New Delhi
2003: All India Art Camp by Hadoti Udyog Mela Samiti, Kota, Rajasthan
2003: Evil Face of Global Terrorism Camp by Sanskar BharIti New Delhi
2003: Young Artist Camp by Delhi Tourism New Delhi
2003: Uttrakhand Kalakar Samiti, Dehradun
2004, 07: VIRASAT, Dehradun
2004: Nanda Devi Campaign, Lata, Uttranchal
2004: Lalit kala Academy, Welham School Dehradun
2005: Nanda Devi Campaign, Dehradun
2007: Art Link- II, Indo-German artists residency, Kolkata
Lalit Kala Akademy, New Delhi
Sahitya Kala Parishad, New Delhi
MEC Art Gallery, New Delhi
Pioneer Art gallery, New Delhi
Many private Collections in India, USA, Australia and the UK