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Dilip Chitre’s dreams come true

Poet painter and writer Dilip Chitre is finally having his dream show at the coveted Pundole Art Gallery due to open on May 25.

Written by Georgina Maddox | Mumbai |
May 22, 2009 2:51:19 am

Poet painter and writer Dilip Chitre is finally having his dream show at the coveted Pundole Art Gallery due to open on May 25. However the exhibition is clouded by a shadow of disturbing news: Chitre has been battling cancer and his worsening condition has led friends to convene this exhibition—something he had been planning for 40 years.

“The show will consist of paintings,drawings and a book of his poetry and paintings. Contributors to the book are Atul Dodiya,Probodh Parikh and myself,” says fellow artist Sanjeev Khandekar a friend and fellow writer and artist.

Atul Dodiya whose international status as an artist is a well-known,has written about his experiences with Chitre,whose literature played an important role for Dodiya in his formative years as a painter. “I have known Dilip a bilingual poet who brought alive the writings of Sant Tukaram which he into English so that many could access it. However,I discovered he has an insightful response to painting as well. In fact he has written for Anju’s 2001 show and his essay was very different from the usual,” says Dodiya.

In fact Chitre was involved in translating not only the work of Tukaram but also of his dazzling forerunner,Jnandev,the 13th century Marathi mystic and poet who pioneered the Bhakti renaissance in Maharashtra.

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Dodiya also admires Chitre’s enthusiasm for life that led him to make a film Godam that went to France in 1984. “The film was very dark but it was so artistically made that it still plays on my mind,” says Dodiya. The film bagged the Prix Special du Jury award as well.

Having seen Chitre’s abstract drawings on paper Dodiya is looking forward to the show.

Chitre’s presence as a painter is important comes from a space that is untrained and thus extremely spontaneous. He had his first solo show in 1969,in the city of Mumbai,which did boast as many galleries as it does today. “His work is different and interesting,not that it has a relationship with his writing,it has a magical aspect of unconscious doodling,” says Dadiba Pundole of Pundole Art Gallery in Flora Fountain that will be showcasing about 60 works by the artist.

“Everyone knows Dilip as a writer but the minuet I had mentioned his art to people like Dr D Rande — curator and a key figure at restoration team of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sanghralaya — he recalled seeing Dilip’s work in a London exhibition,” adds Pundole.

Chitre has been oscillating between drawing and writing and has had very productive spells of working. Wearing his trade-mark painter’s hat with his jocular manner,Chitre has been a prominent figure at art openings and poetry readings. His illness has however caused him to withdraw from the social scene. He keeps in touch with current affairs through his blog:

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