Charan Sharma


“The language of the paintings is direct and simple. Their colors, lines and forms are also simple. And there is a mood – which, like music, leads on to beauty. These experiences are my own. They are rooted in the soil. Whatever I have experienced is exploding on my canvas like a celebration of life and joy.”

Born in the town of Nathadwara, Rajasthan in 1950, Charan Sharma obtained his Masters of Art in Drawing and Painting from the University of Udaipur there in 1974, after obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in another field and finding that it was not his calling. He later studied graphics at the Sir J.J. School of Arts in Mumbai, obtaining a postgraduate diploma on the completion of this course in 1976.

Sharma has always been described as a very architectonic painter. Most of his paintings depict, with very simples forms and colours, the interiors and exteriors of buildings, whether hovels or palaces. Sharma says of his most recent series of paintings, “My new body of work suggests that the content and style of my paintings have changed in a decisive manner. Historic ruins looking on eloquent heaps of pebbles have yielded place to explorations of grandeur inside ancient palaces. Walls converge on many kinds of apertures. There is no limit to the richness of imagery seen in these paintings.”

Growing up in a state like Rajasthan, it is no surprise that its rich architectural heritage has finally shown up on Sharma’s canvases. And there is no doubt that these grand interiors of palaces and forts he paints are but a reflection of the many ‘darbars’ and ‘mahals’ that are such a common sight in Rajasthani cities like Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur.

Sharma has held solo shows very frequently since his first one man exhibitions that were held in Udaipur and Jaipur in 1972, including several at Mumbai galleries in 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1988, 1992, 1993 and 1996; at Singapore in 1983-84 and 1988, and at Delhi in 1988, 1994 and 1996. He has been a part of many group exhibitions and sales on both national and international levels, including the United Nations Women’s Guild show hosted in Vienna in 1982, the 1985 International Print Biennale, the International Experimental Art Exhibition at Budapest in 1985, a show in Yugoslavia in 1986, and the1993 Helpage India Auction.

Charan Sharma’s honours include prizes at the ‘Painting of the Year’ competition, organized by the United Overseas Bank of Singapore in 1983-84, the Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy Award given to him in 1985, and the 1997 Maharana Mawar Foundation Award. Also to this artist’s credit are several books that he has designed, illustrated or shot photographs for, like the biographical work on J Krishnamurthy titled “The Thousand Moons”. Sharma has also directed a film on his hometown of Nathadwara called “Astha ke Ascharya.”

Charan Sharma lives in Mumbai with his artist wife Nimisha Sharma.

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