JAI ZHAROTIA

Born in Delhi in 1945, Jai Zharotia got his Fine Arts education from the Delhi College of Art. His works have been widely exhibited in India and abroad, and is part of several private and public collections. He taught for several years and was then the Head of the Department of the Fine Arts Department at the Delhi College of Art, New Delhi. Jai Zharotia has exhibited widely in India as well as in the Netherlands, the United States, Japan, and Hong Kong. He is a recipient of a number of awards and honors in India including the country's most prestigious award, the National Award from the Lalit Kala Akademi. His work is in the collection of the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, the Lalit Kala Akademi, the College of Art in Delhi and in many private collections in India, the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and France.

Jai Zharotia's work can be aptly described to be highly metaphorical. Dream-like images with realistic looking figures have additional imagery like flowers, vases, puppet horses and chekered dresses suggest narratives beyond the visible. His art celebrates mystery and subtlety; little signs at the corners of a canvas throw open a window on the content of a painting. A woman in red beckons the viewer away from a fantastic creature with a centaur's head and a chrysanthemum held in a human hand. Is she a voice of sanity in an unreal world? Or does she tempt only to deceive? Yet Zharotia is a keen observer of the real world. His paintings often directly invoke the political scene. A good example is the "Political Mask", a painting in which a supplicant lies beneath a dome (of a grand building?) while a confident yet impersonal profile (a mask?) looks off into the distance. Next to the mask is faintly inscribed the word "Strength" while above the supplicant is the admonition "Cast your vote".

"..Among the factors that have contributed to the flowering of Jai's art during the last two decades is the recognition on the part of the artist of his rich cultural heritage. His images, however, possess a number of highly personal dimensions, meaning and style. Jai mocks at convention and hypocrisy." P. N. Mago, Catalog for Solo Exhibition at Art Today, 1998