An exhibition of sensitive paintings by Shanti Panchal, whose distinctive watercolours once seen, can never be forgotten. His work focuses on the various events of his childhood that took place in rural Gugarat in Western India.
Panchal made his bid for freedom at the early age of fourteen leaving his village bound for Bombay to study art. Panchal’s father had wanted him to train as an engineer but Panchal had always been attracted to painting even as a child where he decorated the walls of the village homes with the scenes from everyday life, mixing red and brown clay with white powder to make paint.
He draws strongly from El Greco’s depiction of the tortured spirituality within man, and also felt the need to distance himself from his home-perhaps a sense of displacement to examine more thoroughly areas of experience that would have been explored differently had he not settled in England. Although his expatriation was voluntary, it was nevertheless painful and traumatic.
Since coming to London with a British Council Scholarship in 1978, Panchal has not only established himself as a successful artist, but has also closely involved himself with a number of challenging community projects in schools and hospitals.
Panchal has held three one-man exhibitions in London and his group shows have included The Royal Academy Summer exhibitions, The Whitechapel Open and The John Player Portrait Award exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery. In 1986, he won a GLC ‘Spirit of London’ award and in 1987 he was a prizewinner in the John Moores Liverpool exhibition.