Ajeya Singh remembers his father photographing the morning sun and taking family portraits. “We had a regular family life, vacation time and so on, but when he joined politics we were lucky if we had a meal together even though we lived in the same house,” says Singh. Carefully sifting through his father, VP Singh’s artworks, Ajeya is quick to make a distinction between the politician and his art. “Everyone knows the work he did in politics, but as an artist too he was talented. He sold some of his most outstanding works, and could easily have become a professional artist. I wasn’t aware about this side of him, till he fell ill and started painting again,” he adds.
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It is the artistic side of his father that the son wants to showcase in an exhibition that opened yesterday at Aryan Art Gallery in Delhi. On display are over 60 works by the former prime minister. Spanning 1994 to the year of his death, 2008, the portrayals range from abstracts to figurative works; boats parked on a quiet shore to the lingam and a reclining Buddha. “He used to paint before he joined politics but then everything else kind of fell on the wayside. We wanted to show the range of his skill, one medium to the other,” adds Ajeya.
Fond of pencil sketches, in his student days Singh reportedly appointed a teacher in Allahabad to learn the painstaking process of wash painting and figuration of the Bengal school. Later, he went on to experiment with oils. When he was alive, he held 10 solos of his work. This is the first after his death. Curated from the family collection, the works are on sale from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh.