GS Shenoy
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It is hard for me to write legibly about the quiet legend of Gokuldas Sadanand Shenoy. I did not know him personally and yet I feel I know him in a way that is instinctive, beyond the realms of academics and art history. While soaking and absorbing the book, Shenoy-Footprints (put together with painstaking passion and insightful love by his son and renowned artist Gurudas Shenoy), I connected with his journey as a painter, a muralist, a creator of palpably resonant, tactile multi-media works as if the big, roaring fire that was at the heart of his prolific output was still a living thing. And maybe, it is.

The overwhelming feeling you get while exploring his work is that of liberation and metamorphic evolution and discovery and fearless exploration and serendipity and a magmatic, energy that infuses your nerve ends till you reach a point of conclusion, of peace, of final resolution. And at the end of it all, you feel, you have not just watched a journey from a distance but shared it with the artist.Like the negative of a photograph that develops slowly to meet light, you see the processes that pulse through each of Shenoy's series. The learning, the respectful grappling with tradition, the restlessness and then the breaking free, the discovery of many voices, the flight into the unknown in an explosion of iridescent pieces and finally the consolidation, the clarity, minimalism that speaks of having arrived, questions that have been answered, a bolt of inspiration that has become a lake of peace.

Whether it is figurative art or abstract, murals or water colours, rocks or relics, hillscapes or mindscapes, Shenoy is like a curious child who trusts imagination and fears nothing. He is also indubitably a Master who has learnt to walk the line between excess and lack, stimuli and absence, expression and abstinence.

I have read that Shenoy was man of few words. A gentle, self-effacing soul and maybe, just maybe that was because his real self was his channelled energy that did not need words or noise or swagger but just a an idea and some tools. And with these he created a timeless legacy, inspired generations of artists and till date is as relevant as he was when he was tirelessly painting. In an age where marketing ploys sometimes take away from the purity of the creative process, I am glad I discovered GS Shenoy and his unalloyed commitment to his craft. It made me reconnect to the source of why artists are who they are and why they must never change in the presence or absence of acknowledgment and adulation.

Shenoy was a teacher. And his art and his life were his lessons.

By:  Reema Moudgil

Reema Moudgil has been writing for magazines and newspapers on art, cinema, issues, architecture and more since 1994, is an RJ, hosts a daily Ghazal show on Worldspace, runs, is the editor of Chicken Soup for The Indian Woman’s soul, the author of Perfect Eight ( and an artist.