Yati Jaiswal – An Artist of Profundity and Imagination

The modern and post modern movement of art in India should either seek institutional patronage or use occasional lobby power. When the meaning and and self claimed prophecy of absence of beauty and structure of the world is the only purpose for which, these movement survived, there is a dire need for a new movement. Modernism is a self-serving oxymoron of age old 1900 ideas. And post-modernism tried to revive it.

The repetitive themes of disregarding form, line, composition and the entire gamut of structural primitives of art creation either led to predictable feel of a work or support from elite power.

However there is this promising artist from Delhi, India, who is at the juncture of a new revolution to begin. Revolutions in art are made by handful of key individuals. A novel subject or a fresh theme calls for a new era. So does Yati Jaiswal. We are living in the times when art is suffering from in-breeding and not giving birth to new variety. Yati is on a new edge to take off. Time is yet to tell us of the flight from this edge either gets slurped into a certain ideology or ideas.

I had this opportunity to interview this amazing artist and share some of his wonderful works. 


Seshu Kiran: For the takers, if there is any painting to invest on, I will choose Oppenheimer’s  guilt. Tell me more about this painting?

Yati Jaiswal: Oppenheimer’s guilt was born overnight and had a gestation period of about 3 years to be accurate. It is a visual stamp of the hypothetical state of mind Oppenheimer had had following the bombing of Nagasaki (which he considered was unnecessary). The intricate rendering of the central form is an allegory to the dynamics of human nature, the holographic attributes of an idea or even transmutation of an idea.

A radical idea of discovering the penultimate energy mutated into an ever-writhing blot that haunts the humankind despite all the glories we bestow upon each other in international events. It was this dichotomy between the holographic nature of an idea and the ideologue- both residing in a single entity – that sowed the ground for Oppenheimer’s Guilt is an universal epitaph on the irony that exists between intent and outcome, quest and discovery- a tragedy epitomized by dried  flowers and mushroom clouds.


Oppenheimer’s Guilt. Courtesy Yati Jaiswal. Copyrights belong to the artist. 

SK: Please give us an introduction about you.

YJ:I was born in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India in 1977 in a hospital named “Nazreth”. My father was a government servant working with All India Radio (the only radio service owned by the government of India) and was an avid reader of literature and a prolific writer with occasional papers and essays published and broadcasted.

Allahabad, also known as Prayag, famous for its kumbha mela lies at the intersection of three sacred rivers namely Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati (a mythical subterranean river). It once was the literary capital of India associated with many writers and poets of national acclaim.

Six months after my birth, my father received his  transfer orders and shifted to New Delhi- capital of India. Me and my mother joined him six months later. Childhood was usual but always surrounded by innumerable books owned by my father over the years. This inadvertent exposure to books has had a lasting influence in defining the idiosyncratic X-ray I have of the world.

After schooling I did my graduation in humanities, followed by higher education in Human Rights. My academy for art as a discipline was College of Art, New Delhi, India and Lalit Kala Sansthan, Agra, Uttar Pradesh India. After completion of my art training from the Universities, I started working as an artist with a few group shows now and then with known and unknown art galleries of Delhi in particular and India in general.

In 2008, I was awarded with National Award by Lalit Kala Academy, Government of India (Highest honour in the field of visual art conferred upon by the government of India) and in the same year won the Kashi Award for Visual Art, Kashi Art Gallery, Kerala, India (followed every year by the art fraternity with much curiosity). I have had a few solo shows since then and now I work from my studio-cum-home in New Delhi.

 SK: What have you been painting all along? What are the subjects you generally pick?

 YJ: Though the visuals may look generally disconnected but they have an umbilical connection somewhere- deep down on a metaphysical level, a humane one.  All the works are an amalgamation of intangible and corporeal- so common and mundane that we overlook it by force of habit.

Again, they all trace their provenances to that  invisible bulwark that humankind has had the courage to erect against the tyranny of injustice unleashed by those who have against those who do not. They are the visual documentation of all the voices of dissent- feeble or otherwise. They are about the last man, last river, last tree and the last star that is dying but still brilliant enough to give the tyrants their last and the bitterest taste of struggle.

SK: Describe your visual language. It’s very unique!

YJ: Language is bound to be unique when the world it is spoken in or the context it moves within is exclusive and inconsiderate to the intellectual capacity of the spectator. It is brutal and merciless to the uninitiated. Every language is a culture within a culture- a subculture-comprehensible and visible to only those who surrender to the whims and fancies of the architect. It is an elusive yet pervasive syntax affecting everyone but comprehended by few and revealing to fewer.

SK: How does a painting like City-walk happen to you? No sarcasm! but it’s exciting to see  your images speak for themselves.

YJ: Unlike many other works, Citywalk, was complete more inside my head than on the canvas. It was a product of an overnight reaction to the organic character of a metropolis. Citywalk could be (though, it is New Delhi in the work) any city with unremitting Self- Destructive Expansion Syndrome with all the concomitant ingredients for Eco-disaster. Citywalk is a veritable metaphor attributable to that particular moment when the din of the city gives it a organic character. It is a vertical representation- symbolical of life- of a city that otherwise looks smug about its illusion of prosperity; a prosperity built on the cost of millions of its lesser kin.


City-walk. Courtesy Yati Jaiswal. Copyrights belong to the artist. 

SK: Your titles of the painting and the painting itself are closely related. It is not another abstract work with a grand-title. How did you achieve this?

YJ: They are just like theory and practice. They are prologue to my works. They could as much be a title to an essay. Sometimes they are like post-coitus philosophical cogitations; concomitant residue of an exercise spent on decoding the dynamics of this cosmos.

SK: What do you think about the contemporary art scene in India?

YJ: Its on a roller coaster ride fuelled by immense money and the aspirations of a society, cut loose from its root, trying to break even with contemporaries abroad. It is like a theatre for the Alzheimer patients where every thing has to be BIG enough to understand and glossy enough to seduce. It is now a factory epitomising mechanics and assembly lines.

KS: Describe your achievements as an artist.

YJ: There are no achievements in a world where you are the only inhabitant. Achievement is a misplaced concept in all the arts. It is a noble and isolated act which doesn’t warrant the approval of any fuck. It is an isolated activity with or without spectator. It is like a song which is relevant whether heard or unheard.

KS: What are your current projects?

YJ: Projects belong to NASA. Art has none. The word Project is used in the world of art to satisfy the IRS there and Income Tax Department here. It is the subtle way, employed by the wealthy, to control art and artist, make them feel obligated to money and thus circumcise the art of its capacity to question the injustices.

KS: How do you define your goal as an artist?

YJ: There are none ! Its a journey and not a destination, a sojourn not a vocation.

KS: Do you see ‘Realism’ as a temper in art has utility in developing and mastering abstract art? if so, how?

YJ: It once was, but no more. The ways of life have changed. We are living more like sci-fi movies unlike earlier when we knew the difference between dreams and fantasies. One can only deconstruct if one knows the basics of construction. Deconstruction too is an idea, and like any other idea it has to have a thesis and an antithesis. All art is either a subtle response or a strong reaction to that which one acknowledges to exist and exert influence that he/she cannot ignore to react to. Realism is that thesis. Better be yours own than someone else’s.

KS: Last but not the least. If any one wants to buy your work, how should they contact you? Do you also sell limited prints of your work?

YJ: Sorry!! There is no website or a shop for it. However, those who cannot resist owning my works
can call on 9871704480 (India Cell Number.) or email at


SELF-GRATIFICATION OF NATION-STATES. Courtesy Yati Jaiswal. Copyrights belong to the artist.

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