Paresh Maity was born in 1965 in Tamluk,West Bengal. Tamluk is a small town known for its remarkable association with terracotta art. While in school he made clay images of gods and goddesses and sold them to earn money for his education. He started painting watercolours of river scenes while still at school and then oil painting thereafter. He mastered the technique of oil painting at Government College of Art, Kolkata. His single minded determination to acquire formal training paid off when he came to Delhi to join the Delhi College of Art.
Paresh’s adventurous, experimental personality has prodded him to explore all mediums of art whether it’s drawings, watercolours, oils, mixed media, sculptures, photography or filmmaking. Paresh’s uniqueness lies in his rediscovering the charm, flavor and magic of India in his paintings. Rajasthan has been the human inspiration behind his work, Shantiniketan, the spirituality of mind, body and soul and Agra,the visual representation of majestic beauty. He’s also drawn inspiration from the towering Himalayas, the serene ghats of Varanasi and the magical waters of Kerala. He has done a series of paintings on almost all the destinations of India and has also taken his work across the seas to London, Venice, China and Japan.
Paresh has had seventy one solo exhibitions to his credit held all over the world including India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany, France, United Kingdom and United States of America. On the occasion of Rabindra Nath Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary, an exhibition of watercolours ‘Shesh Lekha’ by Paresh Maity was organized at the National Gallery of Modern Art New Delhi and Mumbai.
He is the recipient of the Royal Watercolor Society Award in London, The Harmony Award in Mumbai, The Governors’ Gold Medal from Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata, The Indian Society of Oriental Art, Kolkata, Pt. Ravishanker Award from College of Art in New Delhi and The All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society. He was also awarded for outstanding painting by Birla Academy of Art and Culture, The Dayawati Modi Foundation Award for achievement in the field of Art and Culture, The Sera Bengali Award in Kolkata by Anand Bazar Patrika and entered the Hall of Fame by Times Of India. The biggest feather in his cap came in 2014 when he was conferred with the fourth highest civilian honour by the Government of India, the coveted Padma Shri Award.
Maity has always found it difficult to respond to questions about how long he takes to finish a painting. He has said, “Every single stroke is a sum of my entire life’s journey, so logically I can say that it took me 40-50 years to paint that work!”
Maity’s latest painting and perhaps his greatest feat, is the “Indian Odyssey”, a 800 ft long painting, one of the tallest in the world displayed at Delhi Airport. He also commemorated Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary by creating “The Dandi March’, a 15 ft. long canvas. His other important works include the paintings, ‘Equal Rhythm’ and ‘Painting In Blossom’.
His works are in the collection at British Museum in London, Rubin Museum, New York, Commonwealth Institute, London, the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, the Birla Academy of Art and Culture in Kolkata, Tata Iron & Steel Co. ITC, Oberoi Group of Hotels, Leela Hotels, Park Sheraton, RPG, Birla Group, Vatican Embassy, Noon Group, London and many other institutions and private collections all over the world.
“Water-colours are my heart & soul” says Paresh Maity who over a period of the last 20 years has achieved proficiency in the medium a few can claim. Paresh Maity , on whatever surface he may choose, be it paper, canvas or any other medium, creates magic. The colours are vibrant, and echo the passion of the artist.
Virtuosity of medium is not the message the spirit behind the man and his talent are. It has taken a long time for Paresh Maity to reach where he is, “the execution of the work itself may take little time, but to get there it has taken me 20 years”.