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The commission at Bhopal


Figures in my work
Gulammohammed Sheikh Artist
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Is it ever an issue for you that  figures... in the majority of your work the figures are relatively small within the totality of the picture. Would you ever like to paint... I mean, they’re not as figure-centred, you might say, as many of the paintings we’ve also admired.

No. I think ‘City for Sale’ has life-size figures.

It does, it does.

There are also other paintings where I have done, like in the exhibition I had in 2000, I had two or three paintings with life-size figures in. So I do that.

But still, what we remember your painting for perhaps most, is the zones and the totality rather than the individual figures.

Well, I don’t know, I’m not sure. But I’m interested in the scale, the large and the small. I’m interested in placing large and small together, you know, in some kind of a dialogue. So if you remember the painting called ‘The Characters Questioning the Narrator’, which is a large figure, it was full-size. The painting is about – what is it about – 4-and-half feet high, the figure is about 4 feet in that, and then there is a small figure right at the bottom. So yes, I would be interested in making large figures, maybe I think, the paintings which I’m known [by], in which I have smaller figures, you know.

Gulammohammed Sheikh is an Indian painter, writer and art critic who has been a major figure in the Indian art world for half a century. His artistic career is closely associated with the renowned MS University of Baroda in Gujarat where after gaining his Master's degree, Sheikh went on to teach in the Faculty of Fine Arts, and where he was appointed Professor of Painting in 1982.

Listeners: Timothy Hyman

Timothy Hyman is a graduate of Slade School of Fine Art, London, in which he has also taught. In 1980 and 1982, he was Visiting Professor in Baroda, India. Timothy Hyman has curated many significant art exhibitions and has published articles and monographs on both European and Indian artists.

Duration: 1 minute, 40 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2008

Date story went live: 18 November 2010