About the Artist
Madan Lal Chandigarh based Artist the city design by famous architect Le-courbouser. He grew up in Ferozepur Punjab north part of the India and the culture, heritage, motifs, landscape of his state and its rural areas have defined his imagery and vocabulary on canvas. The miniature tradition, frescoes of Ajanta and Ellora, Sufism, Buddha, all have a strong presence on the painter’s canvas, who studied applied arts at the Government College of Art, Chandigarh. Recipient of the National Award by the National Lalit Kala Akademi and several prestigious awards, Madan Lal served as honorary vice-chairman the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi (2012-2018), and assistant professor, NIIFT. Secretary Chandigarh Lalit kala Akademi (2003-2006) & Punjab Lalit kala Akademi (2000-2003).
His works have been cited and referenced at numerous platforms .They have been appreciated by the art lovers and complemented by the critiques. He was honored with various awards like Gold medal at All India Exhibition by Avantika, New Delhi in 2001, All India Millennium Drawings by PLKA & Lalit Kala Academy, New Delhi in 2000 and All India Exhibition by AIFACS at Chandigarh, in 2000. Praful Dhanukar State Award Gold in Mumbai in 2015 and Praful Dhanukar North zone silver award in the category of painting in 2016 and highest achievement National Award by Lalit Kala Academy, New Delhi, INDIA 2016.
Participation in Camps and Workshops have been a regular feature with him. Working in places like, London in 2008, Sweden in 2009 Turkey Istanbul, Antalya, IZMIR in 2014,2018 Macedonia in 2016/2017 , Dubai UAE in 2016/2017 , Lakshadweep Island -2018 , international art camp Nirja Modi school Jaipur -18, APJ Jalandhar -18 / 19 Bharti Vidhyapheth university Pune -17 , Chikldahra (MP) in 2016, Jammu & Kashmir in 2015\16\17\18, ,Barog, Gangtok, Pune, Kurukshetra, Shimla ,Amritsar and many more have inspired him through his journey since,1995. A part of several National & International workshops, art camps, group and solo shows in both India and abroad, Madan’s works of art are in the collection of leading galleries in India, UK, Germany and USA and also many private collections.
The painter’s imagery is multi-layered and replete with life’s many motifs, materialistic and metaphysical and colours that exude a mysterious vibrancy are drawn from many journeys, internal and external, with the forms finding their own space and place with the elements of nature — everyday life, birds, animals, dreams and fantasies. Madan’s anthropomorphic images, part human, part animal are employed deftly to paint the emotional-scape of human beings and the complexity of man- woman relationships. Eroticism too is a recurring thread. Chandigarh’s landscape, surroundings, architecture, has also inspired many of Madan Lal’s series of works, as he constantly explores new ways to express through his art. Drawing remains Madan Lal’s first passion, as he creates hundreds of sketch books, which also contain his poetry and tell many stories, as he embarks on new artistic journeys.
National Award by Lalit kala Akadem, Ministry of culture Govt.of INDIA
Punjab Lalit kala Akademi sanmaan-2019
Qualification- BFA, Five year degree in fine art from Punjab university
Worked as an Asstt. Director Design Textile in the Institute of design for Handicrafts Punjab , Chandigarh from -1990-2011
Asstt. Director Designs (Textile ) with Department of industries & commerce , govt. of Punjab November 2015 to May 2019 (VRS)
Asstt. Professor At Northern India Institute of fashion Technology Mohali Punjab from 2011 to 2015
Honorary Secretay Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi Chandigarh july-2021
Vice Chairman- Chandigarh Lalit kala akademi since-2012-2018
Honorary Secretary -Chandigarh Lalit kala Akademi 2003-2006
Honorary Secretary -Punjab Lalit kala academy 2000-2003
Visiting Faculty at At Northern India Institute of fashion Technology Mohali Punjab since 2019
2021 – 75th celebration of freedom national awardees Art Camp at Rabindra Bhavan By National Lalit Kala Akademi New Delhi-15th -21 August 2021
ONLINE Exhibition 2021
2021- CULTURE TAPESTARY International Art Exhibition Bicentenary Celebration, COSTA RICA, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA & INDIA on 14 September 2021 by Empowerment
2021-100 Eminent International Artist ART Exhibition by BINDAS ART Group from -1st to 31st January 2021
2021- perspective”:21 International on line Mixed exhibition by Ankara Music & Fine art university Ankara Turkey- 21-1-2021 To 31-1- 2021
2021- Akshaya Kalayatra Uttar online art camp by Hina Bhatt art Ventures Family 7th Feb to 12th Feb-2021
2021- Art Workshop by CT University Ludhiana 4th-5th March 2021
2021-art work shop color of freedom by Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi Chandigarh on 23 March 2021
2021-Pandemic Inspiration International online Exhibition by TRAKYA University Turkey- 15 April to 30th April -2021
2021-internation online Annual art exhibition on International world art day by Iamartist gallery 15th May to 9 May 2021
2021-INERSECTIONS Assemblage Art Gallery London –Virtual Exhibition 14-5-2021
2021-International Accessible Mixed online Exhibition Invited on Mother’s Day organized by Aksaray University Turkey by Faculty of fine art & education Department on 10-5 -2021at 11 am www.artsteps.com
2021-Intersection, Virtual Exhibition by Assemblage art Gallery London on 14-5-2021 at 6 pm
2021-Invisible online group show organized by J S art gallery Mumbai 07-07-2021
2021 – On line talk / webinar 2020
2021- kalakaro ki man ki Cohppal artist Talk by Indian Media 5th June at 4 pm
2020-the art discovery , interactive session TAD, on 15th June 2020at 5 pm
2020-codes of colors lecture &interactive session on ZOOM on 12th june-2020at 5.00 pm
2020-art talk 2020 by www.bindaasart.com live on face book on Augest1 ,2020at 5PM
2020-we are looking forward to our tomorrow’s INSTAGRAM live & artist story Friday 18th September by @Loud art society Calgary Canada
2020-codes of creativity workshop & lecture series on Google meet on July 17 at 3.30-4.30 PM by PLC SUPVA Rohtak, Haryana
ONLINE Exhibition 2020
2020- International virtual exhibition without frontiers by movement de arte emergence MEXICO SEPT-1ST2020
2020-Centennial an online international visual art exhibition by university of Lucknow celebrating 1920-2020 from -20-30 november-2020
2020-Unknown2020 international on line art exhibition & art camp organized by ASYMMETRYGROUP JABALPUR-INDIA 22nd September-30th September
2020- Rajeshwari kala mahotasva,20 art festival International virtual art exhibition by APJ college jalandhar –30th July 2020
2020-sowing the seeds of tranquility a virtual exhibition by empowerment group on 2nd October 2020
2020-national gallery of modern arts on line art workshop cum exhibition on Gandhi janyti on 151 birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi -2nd October-2020
2020-reflection in decagon online exhibition by Iam ARTIST FROM 20th June to 10th July 2020
2020- international on line visual art event 11th RANG MALHAR Jaipur5th July -2020
2020-Cetral university of Himachal Pradesh international online exhibition 11 october-1st November
2020-time talk a national exhibition in this pandemic movement by Orissa modern art gallery at world artist day (Shilpi divas 8 th December ) 8th -12 december-2020
2020- 25th online kalavart international art festival (workshop) 2020
2020-CAPTIVATING CANVAS by Banyan art gallery 8th june-12th June 2020
2020-INTERNATIONAL ON LINE ART Exhibition 2020by sanskar bharti kopagan at 25 june-at 5.15PM
2020-ONLINE ART EXHIBITION COVID-19 organized by SOUL & SPIRIT ART SOCIETY JUNE-4TH 2020
2020-Matti Srijan a video presentation by 32 artist on YouTube , National TV channel 8 MAY 2020
2020-INDIAN art festival Nehru center worli Mumbai 9th to 12 january 2020 by GALLERY ART ZOLO.COM Mumbai
2020 online exhibition by ARCHNA Wadhwa GALLERY BANGLORE-
2021 – online Solo show by Art Family an International Artist Group from 25 June -2021
2021 – Virtual solo show by Art Antakya art association Turkey – 1 to 10 june 2021 wwwartantakya com
2019 – Codes of Colors exhibition of paintings at Jehangir art gallery Mumbai 5th march to 11th March -2019
2017 – Exhibition artist palette at HYATT Regency Chandigarh -15september to 24 sept-2017
2016 – Exhibition of paintings & drawings at punjab kala Bhawan -28 feb-to-2nd March-2016
2013 – Exhibition of paintings at Sridharni , Triveni kala sangam New Delhi ,1st Nov.to 10th November
2013 – Exhibition of paintings and drawings at Art Indus Gallery New Delhi 22Feb- to 2nd March
2013 – Exhibition of paintings at Jehangir art gallery Mumbai-14 to 20th April-2013
2012 – Exhibition of paintings & drawings at Art Folio Chandigarh-8th January to 13 th janury-2013
2011 – Exhibition of Paintings at Sridharni Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi-16th to 26th April-2011
2008 – Exhibition of Paintings Jahangir Art Gallery, Mumbai-14th to 20th April
2007 – Exhibition of Drawing & Paintings at Art Indus, New Delhi- 22nd Feb to 2nd March -2007
2006 – Exhibition of Painting at Art Folio, Chandigarh
2005 – Exhibition of Paintings at Art Folio, Chandigarh -1st Dec. to 5th Dec
2005 – Exhibition of Paintings at Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi -12th to 21nd Dec.
2004 – Exhibition of Paintings at Lalit Kala Academy, New Delhi-7th October-13 October-2004
2004 – Exhibition of Paintings at Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi
2001 – Exhibition of Drawings at Punjab Lalit Kala Academy, Chandigarh
1999 – Exhibition of Paintings at Lalit Kala Academy, Rabindra Bhawan New Delhi
1998 – Exhibition of Drawings & Paintings at Museum of Fine Arts, Punjab University, Chandigarh-feb
1996 – Exhibition of Paintings at Punjab Lalit Kala Academy, Chandigarh
1995 – Exhibition of Drawings at Punjab Lalit Kala Academy, Chandigarh-March- International symposium /Exhibition & Art Residency
2021 – Virtualsolo show by Art Antakya art association Turkey 1to 10 June 2021 wwwartantakya com
2019 – 12th International painting symposium Luxor Egypt by Ministry of cultural
2019 – Government of Bihar National art workshop at Patna Bihar
2019 – 3rd international CH Kalpak art festival Sarkoy Turkey
2019 – 2nd International art fest nomia boutique hotel Yalikavak Bodrum Turkey
2019 – International art symposium Amritsar & Jalandhar
2018 – International art workshop at Lakshadweep Island
2018 – Zeytinli kosk uluslarasi sanat international festivali Izmir Turkey
2018 – International art meeting Havasu park Kumluca Antalya Turkey
2018 – International art camp Nirja Modi school Jaipur
2017 – World Dubai art fair 12th to 15th April Dubai UAE
2017 – International Installation art project plate & palette with ISRAEL artist Shirley Siegal at museum of fine art department panjab university Chandigarh & National Lailt Kala Akademi New Delhi
2016 – Colors of pride group exhibition at hotel Pullman , creek city centre Dubai
2016 – International artist camp by art colony kivevo Macedonia
2016 – Participation in fabrianoin Acquarello Italy 2016
2014 – International Art days Baisktas Istanbul Turkey
2014 – Exhibition of Indian art Tradition in modernity at POSK Gallery by Atria Gallery at LONDON. UK
2013 – Ethnic Concurrence exhibition of paintings Asian art gallery USA
2009 – International Artist Camp by Tellus art at Hega Park , Stockholm Sweden
2009 – Exhibition by Indian & Swedish Artist by Tellus art Sweden
2008 – Group Exhibition by 4 artist at Nehru Centre London
2003 – Exhibition ‘’ our Roots are our wings’’ by Indian Artist network at Jakarta Indonesia
2001 – Contemporary Indian Painting “Tradition to Modernity at Kleinessen Art gallery Fulda” Germany
2019 – Punjab Kala Sanman By Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi Chandigarh
2017 – 58th national akademi Award by Lailt kala Akademi New Delhi
2016 – Prafulla dahanukar art foundation sliver medal
2015 – Prafulla Dahanukar art foundation Emerging artist Award
2001 – Gold medal All India Exhibition by Avantika, New Delhi
2000 – All India Millennium Drawings by PLKA & Lalit Kala Academy, Delhi
2000 – All India Exhibition By AIFACS at Chandigarh.
Honorary Secretary – Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi since July 2021
Honorary Vice Chairman – Chandigarh lalit kala akademi since-2012-2018
Planning of art activities of whole years , finical matters , grant-ads , look after national & international activates , printings of catalogues of annual exhibition.
Honorary Secretary – Chandigarh lalit kala Akademi 2003-2006
Honorary Secretary – Punjab lalit kala academy 2000-2003
Organized ,art exhibitions, art workshop , (paintings, sculpture graphics , photography ect )national & International ,scholarship to young artist , Audio visual lectures & slide show .
Art CAMPS & National workshops In INDIA
2020 – colours of Punjab by Deputy commissioner Roopnagar Punjab-28-29 february-2020
2019 – Senior artist camp on 550 birth anniversary of Guru Nanank dev ji by academy of fine art Amritsar -8th to-11- November
2019 – National art workshop by Govt. of Bihar at Patna 8th 15 th July
2019 – International art symposium by Indian fine art academy Amritsar-25th to 29 january-2019
2019 – International art symposium& workshop by Apeejay college Jalandhar -30th January – 2nd February
2018 – National painting workshop Patnitop (J & K)-21th-25th september
2018 – Arts & heritage festival 2018 by Chandigarh lalit kala Akademi-13 to 15 sept. 2018
2018 – International art camp Nirja Modi school Jaipur -8th-13th-March-2018
2018 – Art Heart monsoon camp2018 at chinmaya vibhooti kolvan pune 29 August 2nd Sept.
2017 – National art festival at L K singhania education center Gottan Jodhpur -6th Dec. to 13 December
2017 – Bharti National art camp by Bharti vidyapeth Pune -7th-10th-november
2017 – National art camp at New Delhi by Metro Delhi –
2017 – National camp with tribal artist at tribal Museum Bhopal by Kora art -9th to11th June
2017 – National artist workshop at summer festival by Govt Museum & Shimla Himachal – 24-27 june
2017 – National camp by Lalit kala akademi New Delhi Ai Bangalore-25 february-1st march-2017
2016 – National painting camp at International “Gita “Parv Kurukshetra-6th-Dec- 10th Dec
2016 – National Painter Camp by PLKA & LKA new Delhi-15th May-21 May
2016 – National painter camp at patnitop J&K-November-22 to26
2016 – National artist camp by ACAD India at Chikldahra (MP) 17to23 January -2016
2015 – National artist Camp by CRPF Jammu & CCRT Delhi at Patnitop J&K-21 to 25th sept.2015
2014- National artist camp by Lalit kala Akademi New Delhi at Guwahati -March
2013 – National Artist camp at KARGIL by Jammu & Kashmir Academy –March-
2012 – National artist workshop by Indian Academy of fine art Amritsar-27 t0-29 October
2011 – Artist camp at Goa by Mystic art foundation Pune-Decmber 24 to 27 December
2010 – Artist camp at Bheem Tal by Rai Foundation New Delhi-
2009 – National Artist Camp at Rajori Jammu-Decmber-9 t0 15
2009 – National Artist camp by Lalit Kala Academy New Delhi at Gangtok Feb-
2008 – Artist Camp by Advance Study ,Vice Roy lodge Shimla-july-6-12
2007 – Artist Camp at Mysore by Art Indus & ITDC 06-09-2007-11-09-2007
2007 – National Artist camp by Artistic Creation at Barog (HP)
2007 – Artist Camp by Art Mall at Dehradoon
2006 – National Artist camp by Art Mall at Barog (HP)
2005 – Artist camp by AIFACS, New Delhi
2005 – National Camp by Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra
2004 – Artist Camp by Amrit Kala Kumbh at Amritsar
2003 – Painting Workshop by PLKA at APJ College, Jalandhar
2003 – Painting Workshop by Govt. College, Mohali
2002 – Artist workshop at Chandigarh Press Club
2002 – Artist Workshop by CLKA & Distt Administration Panchkula
2002 – Painting Workshop at Chandigarh Carnival
2002 – Drawing Workshop by Chandigarh Lalit Kala Academy
2001 – Painting Workshop at BCS, Shimla
2001 – Artist Camp at Jalandhar by PLKA
2001 – Young Artist camp by AIFACS, New Delhi
1999 – Artist Camp by Chandigarh Lalit Kala Academy
1999 – Painting Workshop by Art & Film Society, Chandigarh
1999 – Homage to Kargil Heros Artist Workshop by Punjab Lalit Kala Academy
2017 – Installation art project plate & palette at museum of fine art department panjab university Chandigarh & lailt kala akademi Rabindra Bhawan New Delhi
2017 – 58th national exhibition Bangalore
2016 – Global art fair world trade center Mumbai
2016 – Indian art Fair worli Mumbai
2015 – 57th National Exhibition of art by Lalit kala Akademi new Delhi
2015 – All India National Exhibition by Lalit kala Akademi New Delhi
2015 – Indian art fair Worli Mumbai
2014 – 56th Nation Exhibition of Art by Lalit Kala akademi New Delhi
2013 – 55th national exhibition by Lalit kala akademi New Delhi
2010 – 52nd National Exhibition, by Lalit Kala Academy New Delhi
2005 – Camlin Art Foundation, New Delhi
2005 – Harmony show Mumbai
2004 – Annual Art Exhibition, PLKA, Chandigarh
2002 – 45th National Exhibition, by Lalit Kala Academy New Delhi
2001 – 44th National Exhibition, by Lalit Kala Academy New Delhi
Participation at state Level & National Level since 1995
2014 – Group exhibition of paintings at Birla Akademi Kolkata
2013 – Triveni exhibition of paintings by Three artist at Gallery Art Place Gurgaon
2012 – Exhibition of paintings by untitled group at Punjab kala Bhavan Chandigarh
2011 – Group show Curetted by Art File art promoter & services at Govt. Museum Art Gallery Chandigarh.
2011 – Group “UNTITLED “show at Punjab Lalit Kala Academy ArtGallery, Chandigarh.
2011 – Group “UNTITLED” show at Rabindra Bhawan, Lalit Kala Academy Art Gallery, New Delhi .
2010 – Exhibition of paintings & Drawings at Chandigarh & Ludhiana By Chandigarh
2010 – Exhibition of Untitled Paintings Punjab Lalit Kala, Chandigarh
2009 – Exhibition of Paintings at Stokholm, Sweden
2008 – Exhibition of Painting Habitat Centre, New Delhi
2007 – Exhibition of Paintings at Lalit Kala Academy, Rabindra Bhawan, New Delhi
2007 – Exhibition by Nvya Art gallery, New Delhi
2006 – Exhibition of Paintings by Art Indus at Habitat Center New Delhi
2006 – Exhibition by Indian Art form at Habitat Center, New Delhi
2005 – Polka Vision by Polka Art Gallery, New Delhi
2000 – Exhibition of Paintings at Nehru Centre , Worli Mumbai
1997 – Exhibition of Paintings at AIFACS, New Delhi
1997 – Exhibition of Paintings at Punjab Lalit Kala Academy, Chandigarh
1997 – Exhibition of Paintings at Punjab Lajpat Rai Bhawan, Chandigarh
1995 – Exhibition of Paintings at Fine Art Deptt., Punjab University, Chandigarh
Art Indus art gallery New Delhi
Nvya art gallery New Delhi
Aura art foundation Mumbai
Shri Yash art gallery New Delhi
Gallery The Art place Gurgano (HR)
Atria gallery London
Asian art gallery Boston USA
Art land gallery Mumbai
Mojarto An NDT venture
Art flute Bangalore
Art smiley world Dubai
Reserve Bank of India
Dr Grewal Eye Institute . IFFCO, Mr Atul Khanna , Ms Vandhya Bargodiya , Ms Pinkky kumar , Ms Neepa Sharma , Ms Nonika singh ,Ms Anupam .Late Mr Harish dhillon
Govt. Museum & Art Gallery, Chandigarh
Museum of Fine Art, Punjab University, Chandigarh
Fine Art Deptt., Kurukshetra
ITDC, Rai Foundation
Aura Art Foundation
AIFACS, New Delhi
Indian Academy of Fine Art, Amritsar
Chandigarh Lalit Kala Academy
Punjab Lalit Kala Academy
Bank of Punjab, Gallery 54 Paris, Art Folio Chandigarh, The Art Mall New Delhi
Artistic Creation New Delhi,. Advance Study, Shimla. Metro Delhi , London, Germany ,USA. , Dubai , Macedonia , Turkey. .
* Member of Himachal academy of Arts & culture & Languages Shimla INDIA
* Member of Board of Governors Apjeey college of fine Arts Jalandhar
* Member of Board of Stuies Fashion Technology I K Gujral Punjab Technical University Jalandhar
Honorary Secretary of Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi Chandigarh under Department of culture Affairs Punjab
Article by Nonika Singh
Curiosity might have killed the cat, but the ever eager and forever curious Madan Lal believes it’s important to ponder and wonder. When Goldie Hawn said, “Curiosity, I think, is a really important aspect of staying young or youthful” she perhaps forgot to add artistic. In a perpetual state of awe, struck by life’s immeasurable beauty, Chandigarh based Madan celebrates life in as many myriad hues. Of course, the celebration isn’t surface deep or superficial. Its joy in pure form, anand as our scriptures inform and one that finds inspiration in Sufi thought. Like the swirling dervishes his works create their own rhythm and melody lost in its own musicality. Poetry in motion, resonant and vibrant these follow the Gurbani’s deep philosophical thought mann tu jot saroop hai, apna mool pehchan ( O my mind, you are embodiment of the divine light recognize your own origin ).
Though he is not pompous enough to delude himself that he has found his true self yet what he wanted to be was revealed in his childhood years. As a student of class six growing up in Talwandi Bhai he knew art was his muse. Whether he would end up in the Government College of Art Chandigarh one day, this lad from rural Punjab had no clue. Five years of training in art did not change or transform the innate artist in him. In fact, since he was a student of applied art and not painting various schools and isms of the west didn’t impact him greatly. His own cultural roots, the miniature tradition, the frescoes of Ajanta and Ellora, however, have consistently defined his imagery. Till date in the mudras of his figures you can sense the deeply imbibed influence of the Indian tradition. Sufism that also defines his poetry makes a strong presence on his canvasses too. The central figure in many of his paintings with head bowed in submission is almost like a Sufi figure. Buddha appears in many of his series… for which Indian artist can escape the influence of his mantra of eternal bliss?
Madan’s anthropomorphic images— part human part animal–are employed deftly to paint the emotional-scape of human beings and the complexity of man woman relationships. Eroticism too is a recurring thread. He doesn’t view erotica and spirituality as two disparate ends of the spectrum as both demand complete submission and immersion. Art and aesthetics too go hand in hand for him. Whatever may be the subject, he paints beauty… period. While elements of nature such as birds, peacocks, clouds, trees are bound to be beauteous, in his hands, dustbins become rose plants, road maps a lyrical figure. Why he lends sensuality even to a urinal. Besides, when he uses animal form… it’s not with negative thought or connotation. It’s not animal instinct that he is alluding to but animal power, drive and energy. Negativity has no place in his art even when he is reflecting upon profound issues. Like a true blue Punjabi he finds joie de vivre in everything he sees and touches. The world anyway is swarming with ugliness…. why add to it? So he believes and practices. For someone who paints in wee hours of morning expectedly painting is an act of prayer, meditation and riyaaz. When the world stands still something within him stirs and finds form that is at once evocative and poetic, alluring and awe-inspiring. Replete with metaphors which are like alphabets of the visual language his works are always redolent with meaning. If he were to just paint two figures the outcome he believes would be downright insipid. Unless figurative forms are correlated with metaphors, the work will have no resonance.
Rang udde han bina khamab de, rang bolde han bina shabdan de.”(Colours fly without wings and speak without words). If his colour palette seduces the viewer, technique that involves days of labour completes the process of entrapment. He might have been taken in by pahari school of painting, flatness of surface never ever fascinated him.
The methodology he has arrived at is very much his own. He moved away from time consuming medium of oils to acrylics for it suits his temperament and his technique. Step by step he applies one layer of colour, draws a little then adds another layer and the process goes on and on till he knows the dialogue with his canvass is over.
Of course, the communion that he strikes has its genesis in the craft of drawing. He draws like a man possessed and has an unending collection of drawings which form the blueprint of his creativity. Drawing from the reservoir of Sufi flavour that he could smell in his village Talwandi Bhai in Ferozepur district, barely 35 km away from Kasur, the land of mystic poet Bulle Shah he immersed deep in poetic musings at an early age. By the time he came to Chandigarh he had not only read Bulle Shah, Shah Hussein, Baba Farid but also Shiv Kumar Batalvi. Somewhere along the poet within was also born. But be it the poet or the painter, it’s the journey of self-realisation.
Roop rang aakar se nirakar tak, rachna se rachnakaar tak …. Apne se aap tak…( From form colour and shape to the formless, from creation to the creator from I to the self ) life is looking within an inward journey. Any wonder the little boy in him who would gaze ceaselessly at the vast expanse of fields and the endless horizon is very much alive and kicking off the ennui that envelopes most ordinary mortals. As wonderstruck and enamoured, the child within ensures that the artistic vision never turns stale or monotonous. So his vocabulary is forever seasoned with freshness and is continually changing. Much of what he experienced in his formative years has informed his artistic sensibilities. For instance writing on takhti in school days has transformed into calligraphy.
Living in Chandigarh for over three decades too has rubbed on his artistic process. Preoccupation with geometric forms for instance is most certainly a fall out of living in Le Corbusier’s well planned city. Urban living lends itself to Urban Emotions in which he introduced urban images like lock and key and symbols of calculations hinting at growing materialism. Most of his images go beyond the obvious. Lock and key, also analogous of sexual intimacy, is meant to open doors to deeper recesses. Keyhole peep into the life of man and woman tells you more about urban living than sociological essays can. Urban Phulkari, his more crowded series is his way of amalgamating two different worlds. Rural and urban coexist and stitch together memories of urban life just as his mother would piece different motifs while embroidering Phulkari.
But just when his Phulkari became too dense and populated with far too many motifs, he broke out of the mould. Now figures appear more fleshed out and realistic. Full cycle… but he began his artistic journey with abstraction. Five elements of nature were his muse for a long, long time. From realism to abstraction, Madan has been going back and forth. Over time actually since 2005 figures became his constant artistic companion leading him to express fully and more evocatively. As he crosses seven seas and participates in workshops across continents in places as diverse as Turkey and Macedonia he is enthralled with how visual idiom connects beyond cultural divide. Vice-Chairperson of the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademy, he likes forging the bond between art lovers and artists. Working with Handicrafts & Textile with Punjab Government, Chandigarh has also cemented his connect with the world of art.
Tera Pinjara Jangaal Ney Khana , Mian Mithu Urh Jana. (Your cage will be eaten by rust Mian Mithu( the parrot ) will fly away ). Deeply aware of the ephemeral nature of human life – body like the cage will rust and only the soul would remain– though he has found a ready and steady market that includes buyers like Tina Ambani, it’s spiritual quest that he is ultimately seeking.
Anhad naad… the sound of the cosmos and of human consciousness is where his search is directed and finds a resounding reflection in his canvasses. At the heart of his creativity is nostalgia, memory, mythology, roots, past and of course the ability to make it all possible and relevant to the present. As– Doug Ivester said; “Never let your memories be greater than your dreams,” he dreams with mind’s eyes and imbues a dream-like allegory to his paintings.
Article by Johnny M L
Madan Lal’s paintings human beings and their immediate surroundings transform into incarnated beings and new locations in order to exemplify certain truths that lie beneath the layers of quotidian occurrences in our daily lives. Predominantly these newly created worlds are infested with couples, mutually appreciating and adoring and at the same time engaged in a kind of competition with a lot of erotic potential that would end up in reconciliation, silence and bliss. However, Madan Lal ironically calls them as ‘urban emotions’. For the artist, urban emotions are the emotions of the people who are caught in the urban snare called contemporary life. These emotions are explosive, alluring and at the same time vying for supremacy over reason; people in urban locations want to be always the victors, they just don’t want to witness failure in life though that is one of the dominant characteristics of urban life.
Urban emotions, in Madan Lal’s parlance, come to us as a set of metaphors to be read out and enjoyed within the given context of lyrical expressionism. These metaphors are created out of human couples and their bodies become the fields to accommodate all their dreams, desires and hopes. These entities that make human life rich and colorful do not often get a chance for their full blooming in urban situations. Hence, everything has to happen in a realm of fantasy and art is one way that people have found to play out their fantasies, dreams, desires and hopes. Madan Lal recognizes this fact and his works become the reservoirs of these sublime human emotions. However, Madan Lal is not just a romantic who would always portray life as something filled with fantasies and colorful desires.
In these paintings, human contradictions and contestations are also played out well by creating the metaphors which are capable enough to carry the power of the dark feelings. As I mentioned before, though the transcendence of these darker feelings through the medium of art is one way of making life livable, it is pertinent to see the reality as it is. The starker forms of life have to be dealt with in the medium of art by creating adequate metaphors. Here in Madan Lal’s works one could see how he understands this predicament before any artist and handles it by creating composite images of human beings and animal forms.
Seen from the art historical point of view, creating anthropomorphic images in order to express inner human emotions is an artistic ploy, reaching up to certain levels of allegorical narratives. The anthropomorphic forms that we see in Madan Lal’s works, however do not narrate any particular story, instead they deal with the human conditions as a universally shared and understood one, where both the sublime and darker forces work at once within the minds of the human beings causing both creation and destruction. Hence, when a woman gets transformed into a bull or a man achieves the form of a bird or fish in the paintings of Madan Lal we come to understand how he universalizes these entities into palpable and recognizable artistic forms. These transformations are universal in the sense that they have been already there in the collective unconscious of the people all over the world and identifying with these images or empathizing with them become easier irrespective of geographical locations.
One of the images/metaphors that Madan Lal very skillfully uses is that of a lock and key. This too being a universal symbol of sexual intimacy, gender polarity, physical anatomy of the male and female, Madan Lal uses it to maximum effect by creating a multitude of images. The lock is not just about the female sexuality but it also stands for the secrets of what lies beyond the surface of human life. The potential openers, the keys are with the onlookers and the artist. There is a sort of male principle and male outlook getting predominance in these works. However, we should take it as an artistic license than a very conscious gender political positioning. And at the same time we cannot forget the fact that the artist is a male and his psychological as well as aesthetical conditioning would in a way get reflected in his works.
Madan Lal worships nature up to certain extent. His adoration however is not about the glories that are lost by the nature. He does not lament either on the losses incurred by the human interventions. Like a true romantic does, this artist also looks at nature as a pristine ‘giver’ who has to be worshipped and adored. Though he does not use too many shades of green to emphasis the physical beauty of nature, his love for the colors like blue and red tells us how the artist employs them to underline the power of nature in varying contexts and locations. These paintings celebrate the ultimate human bonding called love. And the artist is all the more obliging to reveal the depths of his creative thoughts in a multitude of images and metaphors.
Article by Aruna Bhowmick
The Indian view of the identity of personality and conduct with teaching is well rendered in the apt comment of a Hindu friend of Heinrich Zimmer in criticism of a certain popular book on Oriental philosophy. “Real attainment is only what finds confirmation in one’s own life. The worth of a man’s writing depends on the degree to which his life is itself an example of his teaching.” This is very true of the works of Madanlal the artist and the man. Characterised by smooth rounded voluminous forms, textured within by gentle etchings, each one a universe in itself, and soft tones doctored by minimal lines, have long been the recognisable features of Madanlal’s works.
There is a transparency in his colours to suggest the transient nature of the physical, as believed in Hindu philosophy, wherein the body or form, is fleeting, the life force passing from one to another in birth and rebirth. The bent head makes humble the persona, underlining the spirit contained within. The physical presence could be that of a monk, a peasant, or even a king of abdicated throne. But above all probably it is the common man, meek and docile.
Made consciously flexible and Indian, there is a universe implanted within each of his forms, layered and textured, replete with life. Marked with architectural registers of civilisation, impressions of ancient scripts, fish, suggesting the beginning of life, the kite to voyage the flights of freedom, or simply seed, grain and textures of love — his compositions are poetic with an effortless ease that makes them truly representative of the artist. In spirit the works are all embracing, formally aligning all life forms—human, animal or plant, dovetailing them into one another, the cow discernible in the some of the four-legged forms, probably in veneration of its benevolent motherhood.
In reality, Madanlal is as much a poet of words as of palette, line and colour, and perhaps even a philosopher in his personal capacity of artistic creativity. He talks with great fascination of the poetic stalwarts of the Punjab, now as much a part of folklore as of Punjabi Literature, and inspiration derived from them. Windows to his inner world, Madanlal’s paintings portray “ego less forms”, people supple in humility, complementing the lyric and volume of their frame. This volume also invests them with a discernibly sculptural character, deriving from ancient India, pegging it deep into tradition.
Philosophic wisdom in the east is considered a specialised learning directed to the attainment of a higher state of being and thus quite above general information. At another level though, it is also quite simple, its foundations laid on the basic principles of detachment, discipline and self-control. Pursued even in moderate degree, these can make a philosopher of man, more so if he is creative. This is true of Madanlal. Content in his personal space of quiet living and rooted lifestyle, his works convince even more after meeting him in person. It is difficult indeed to count the components of his oeuvre because they encompass the cosmos in their depth and reach, exuding a fecundity that is manifest more as a potent cosmic continuum, rather than any evocation of sensuality. It throbs with a life force that permeates the world, effecting a fruition that is continuous and pervasive, both music and prayer at the same time. Indian philosophy also proposes the human soul as one with Brahma, the vital force. The diffused boundaries in Madamlal’s frames tend to reaffirm this merger, his colours fusing into each other as the life force with its source, each frame a universe by itself.
The slightly undefined quality of his protagonists renders them remote and mysterious, sans the rigidity of modern times, gnarled and knotted with desire and ambition, driven by material hunger. Somewhere deep down in the artist’s consciousness is discernable a yearning for the past. Modernity today is a special situation arisen under the impact of industrial and electronic revolutions, unleashing fatal forces. The wheel in one of the works here denotes just this, painted in greasy black machine tool colour, dark and menacing in its presence. The upper half of the work conveys tranquillity, portrayed in hues of blue, grey and mauve. Modernity is also depicted via recurring images of the bicycle in different situations. Undeterred though, the spirit overcomes times to soar free, maintaining clarity. This is represented in the inclusion of the dove or the kite.
Madanlal is freshly returned from his show in England as we sit talking. A sudden spurt of April rains begin to beat down the roof punctuating the afternoon making me sigh with relief as the dust settles down. Madan worries over the untimely pour. “The crops will spoil,” he rues, revealing an earnest concern and connectivity to his soil. “We are after all sons of the soil—farmers at heart. Crops will always remain central to our thoughts.” I am touched and full of admiration. So it is that among the myriad elements of his compositions, we discern neat little rows of cultivation dotting the frame – reminders of our neglected subsistence.
Rituals in the East are serious business. They would otherwise not survive to get carried through generations and cultures. Likewise for some, living life as per one’s own calling is like a ritual, to be practiced and nurtured to fulfil one’s commitments to self, and the world. Seeds falling from open palms form inevitable threads of continuity. Leaves drop, a kernel opens to reveal new life, almost making a ritual of the very process of living, nurturing roots within the peace of a contented existence. Consistency and faith in one’s being, over time makes ritual of a lifestyle. Carried with belief it becomes, as it should, a religion—personal, and true to Hindu philosophy, a way of life, unlike many other religions of the world.
Not to be bypassed is Madanlal’s penchant for drawing as a precursor to painting, for therein lie his thought for each work, the scaffolding to support everything that is to built thereafter. In mindless times such as these people and artists like Madanlal are much need antidotes to our restless society.