This is a story of a creative mind caught between two contrasting worlds. An artist, who is brought up in a rural setting and is now a part of fast-paced, stressful urban life, gives expression to this duel in his mind.
In the midst of a crowded train, he creates his art form, inspired by the folk art he had experienced during his childhood. Meet Lakhi Chand Jain, a Kalwa-based multidisciplinary designer, research scholar and art-craft documenter.
“It was in the year 1999 when I was looking for a way of expressing my thoughts and putting them down on paper. This search led to Pahuri being born. The first doodle of Pahuri took birth during a journey in a crowded local train in Mumbai,” says Lakhi Chand Jain.
Jain’s illustrative series has its origin in his native village - Pahur. It is located on the bank of Waghur river, originating from the Ajanta mountains. Lakhi Chand has developed his own folk style, which captures the simplicity of rural folk, their culture and surroundings.
Lakhi Chand becomes nostalgic while speaking about Pahur. He vividly describes his thoughts, memories and the serenity of the village life and how he explored the folk form in art. He used to paint as a child. He saw modernity overtaking the landscape of everything in and around his tiny village.
Jain has created many Pahuri compositions on paper, canvas and on contemporary surface and textures in the past 15 years. He has explored many new compositions based on household and farming activities and childhood sports in Pahuri style. “These sports are fast disappearing. They do not fit in today’s modern lifestyle,” rues Jain.
‘Pahuri’ reflects the basic theme of simplicity. Jain’s aim is not to let the Indian rural life get lost in the maze of a cluttered modernity.
Pahuri stands out as Jain has explored the art style with modern means and has created composition depicting the livelihood of humans.
His paintings emphasise the interconnectedness of human beings and nature. Jain re-invents the rural vocabulary, which is on the verge of extinction.
“It was only after three years of hard work, research and experiment that Pahuri took its final form. Pahuri has stepped out of the Indian subcontinent only a year ago. Currently, my priority is to get it registered as an intellectual property,” says Jain.
He has won three national awards for designing in the past 25 years of his career. He recently showcased a 10ft x 10ft Pahuri installation themed
‘The Way India Lives’ at ‘Maker Mela 2017’ in Mumbai. The rural life was presented using old electrical wires, mount board and poster and acrylic colours.
Jain says, “In today’s modern world, many aspects of the rural living system have fallen behind. They have no importance in today’s lifestyle. I have made an effort to engrave village life with the same simplicity in my artwork.”
Jain is suffering from POD (Permanent orthopaedic disability) due to the pain in his hip joints for the past eight years. However, he has chosen not to be bothered by this and concentrates on his art.