It comes as a surprise. So does he.
I refer to the charmingly quirky residence of maverick artist Gopal Namjoshi and his artistic talent.
In the middle of dusty, fume-filled, construction choked Gurgaon – Gopal Namjoshi’s home – set in a quiet, leafy community of town-houses is welcome relief on a hot summer afternoon.
The little touches and expressions of Gopal’s artistic style are unobtrusively placed all around the house – yet they make me stop in my tracks and have me hooked. It takes self-control to stop myself from picking up each and every piece and ooh-ing and aah-ing over it.
I am now intrigued by the quiet and gentle person sitting in front of me – who begins to patiently field the volley of questions I throw at him.
Born in the 60’s, Gopal displayed artistic talent right from his early years. Once his schooling was completed – Gopal was ready to study art – but with family opposition creating challenges – he went on to study Commerce at the undergraduate level.
In the year 1981 – Gopal decided to follow his heart and took the leap of faith when he decided to pursue a course in Fine Arts, despite opposition from his family. Gopal’s maverick streak was soon to manifest in his experiences, opinions and attitudes. His found art school disappointing. He felt bound down and restricted. Questioning authority was not on. But now there was no holding the thinking artist in Gopal back. He questioned the system, the teaching, every aspect that one could think of. Logically and persuasively. And proved his point when he was awarded a Gold Medal for achieving the first position in his 5 Year diploma in Fine Arts from School of Arts, Jaipur.
Gopal believes that Life is about challenges and one should stretch oneself to meet those. In this process – one would get to know oneself as an individual in totality. And that one should explore by challenging the best within oneself. Living his dream and his philosophy – he is own best critic. Ably supported by his wife and best critic- Leena, who is also a painter plus a curator, Gopal describes her as a “ perfect intellectual and spiritual companion ”
Over the years – Gopal has been both a teacher and an artist. He is not just a painter, but a designer and a muralist.
Gopal’s work has been showcased at individual and group shows. His work is part of private collections with some of the biggest names both nationally and internationally. He has also designed, fabricated and installed murals for many private and corporate clients in India and abroad.
It is interesting to get an insight in what Gopal thinks about the world of art and art education, in general. He is candid in his assessment of the quality of art education in the country. Regretting the lack of short-term and professionally focused courses, Gopal believes that the limited facilities, outdated curriculum and lack of trained faculty ensure that raw talent in the field is not getting the finish and exposure that they deserve.
The state of Art and it’s business today, is even more dismal according to Gopal. Never afraid to speak his mind – as that what makes him the person he is, he expresses concern about the quality of thinking and conceptualisation in the field. Art quality, according to him is evaluated in an extremely subjective and relative manner. The lack of a concept or even a thought process behind the art is perhaps responsible for the overall quality and the kind of art market place that exists today.
Gopal has a visionary perspective where he believes that an artist needs to be grounded in his own roots, make the effort to develop concepts and ideas with clarity, experiment with ideas and execution in order to be an artists’ artist. He believes that it is essential for an artist to look beyond the commercial diktats of the market place and place his faith in himself and his creativity, in order to develop art that goes beyond the lowest common denominator. And that would be Art that develops as a function of the artists’ skills and creativity, plays to his strengths, and works around his limitations.
To this end – Gopal is happy to be a mentor and supporter to his colleagues and partners from the World of Art. He is confident that his advisory would enable others in the business to benefit from his vision and knowledge so that they can strike a happy balance between the creativity of their art and the commercial considerations of their business.
Gopal firmly believes that a platform like the World Art Community will be able to provide him with visibility and access to those who need his support – in order that the both the Art and the Artist are able to live up to their fullest potential. He is excited about beginning this new journey with new and like-mind persons who recognise and appreciate the quality of his work , his views and his teachings.