Mumbiram in his own Words
"Gandharvadaman", Mumbiram

The creative process necessarily belongs to the very personal realm, almost verging on the mystical. Only a ‘participant critique’ can offer real insights into it. Mumbiram’s own utterances provide us the rare opportunity to see the Artist, his Art, his life, his environment, his relevance, his contribution, his ambitions — all as a united whole.

Mumbiram’s art and writing are striking as confident, self-assured statements in an age of existentially unsure and apologetic stances. We have collected Mumbiram’s such memorable and striking statements as they appear in his first-person accounts of his artistic journey and also as we find them in a few rare interviews that he gave in the 1980’s.

One clearly sees Mumbiram’s analytical mind and eloquence at  their spontaneous, articulate best in these courageous statements. It is not just dry philosophy, but an expression of first-hand personal experiences. Wouldn’t that be the least you expect from the leader of the Personalist Movement in our times ?

Mumbiram in his Own Words
(Some Collected Quotations)

Sarjerao on the Beach, Mumbiram

“Aesthetic Attraction or repulsion is a primal force.
It cannot be explained in terms of anything more basic. Disregard of beauty is a sure sign of moral degradation.”

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“We all negotiate Aesthetic Gravitation together.
There are no extra expectations out of the Artist.”

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“What does art do for poor people?
Same as a does for the rich. Doesn’t bread do it.”

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Aesthetic Gravity Machine, Mumbiram

“Art mitigates dizziness caused by fields of Aesthacy.
It is a compact renewable source.
The Aesthetic Gravity Machine.”

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Moonlight in the Afternoon, Mumbiram

“The offerings here are series of deja-vu’s – the mysterious feeling of having passed thorough an identical situation before. Drama of the human situation is what fascinates me the most. Anybody is free to construct their own stories around these pictures. If you can relate to even just one of these, I have scored.”

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“Abstraction is deletion of detail that is a hindrance to expression and communion. This is natural abstraction. Then there is synthetic abstraction where you build up meaning by Juxtaposition of Symbols. I have produced a series of these when I lived in a Warli Adivasi Village near Dahanu.”

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Warli friends of Mumbiram 8

“The personal realm is infinitely richer than the impersonal realm. Stripped of our ethnicities we are all beautiful belly-buttons. Psychologists say our mind works in the frame-work of a repertoire of archetypes. These are archetypes of a transculture ethos.”

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“During my 12 years in America I investigated the three E’s of modern age. Electronics, Economics and Aesthetics. I don’t buy the scarcity myth on which all economic theories are based. Resourcefulness of the spirit is unbounded. Electronic communication has shrunk time and space, yet the cultural divide is getting wider. Everybody is fighting for his own separate corner. Now is the time to tune up our Aesthetic Antennas and relish the inundating diversity of human relationships.”

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Distant Dancer, Mumbiram

“Art should bridge the gap between East and West
Art should bridge the gap between man and woman.”

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“Art is to bridge the gap between the space age
and the bow-and-arrow age.
Art should be the great antidote
for the maladies of the Material World.”

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“Art should render economic disparity toothless.
Art should give wings to Man.”

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Mumbiram with drum

“An artist is different only in that he is more of a participating voyeur. He is listening to a distant cuckatoo. He is popularising sanity.”

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“An Artist identifies the archetypes of the evolving ethos. Give me 1O good artists and I will make dollar equal to a rupee.”

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“Indians are dreadfully unaware of the none-such beauty of the Indian man and the Indian woman. Hussein leaves his faces blank. But the winds of change are already here. Even in films the meaty boneless faces are giving way to angular intelligent faces.”

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Forest Women, Pulindi, Mumbiram

“You recognise some of these faces in my paintings. I have used them to introduce several hithertofore unrepresented types. Life is one long deja-vu. We all fail in love at least 1O times a day.”

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“I have nothing against language. Titles cannot limit a good painting. Word has power but form has magic.”

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“Personalism is a frontal attack on materialism on the aesthetic front. India is the last and now the first bastion of Personalism. This is a place where even clouds are addressed as persons. Personalism leaves no room for the ‘existential void’.”

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“I am bringing into the purview of Art faces and situations heretofore neglected. I am evolving indigenous archetypes.”

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“My canvas is a window on life. The persons on the other side are so close you could touch them. As for myself, I am the painting.  The pursuit of art is a strange penance.The artist works to quench the thirst of many, in his own life he is running after a mirage.”

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"Lakhu - Who is afraid of Friedrich Nietzsche ?"

“A sovereign artist bends style at will. But there is a method in the madness. That is style.”

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“I do not want to produce art that is created for and used as objects of interior decoration for the wealthy and affected.”

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"HirkaniReunited with her Baby" Mumbiram. Watercolours and gold leaf, 1985

“Art should inspire the human mind towards visions of an ideal world that is in the realm of possibilities for the human society.”

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Opposites attract, Mumbiram

“We all experience that there exists a very natural and healthy mutual attraction between opposites. Cultural as well as bodily diversity can lead to most creative and fascinating unions of individuals… Great art celebrates the material diversity yet brings out the transcending universality of human experience … Without such lofty art illuminating the social fabric there is no possibility of either peace or love.”

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Yamuna, Charcoal, 1985, Mumbiram

“Most of my work has a context from Krishna Katha. Yet the solo portraits also stand very well on their own. It is simply exhilarating to make live portraits of some of the most amazing neglected beauties of folk India. It takes a lot of purity and integrity of the heart to be able to establish a rapport with them and inspire them to participate in this most ennobling endeavor. It is like discovering a star. Sometimes a whole constellation. It was all there all the time but was not noticed nor celebrated like the proverbial peacock dancing in the forest.”

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Malawali Phasepardhi, Mumbiram

“When you buy a painting from an artist you are doing much more than acquiring an art object for your private pleasure. You are joining an aesthetic movement. Further, you are undertaking the responsibility of taking care of a treasure that belongs to all art lovers of all times. Above all you are befriending a personality that obtains meaning and purpose to the otherwise absolutely chaotic ways of civilization. You are not doing a favour to the artist. You are doing your bit for civilization. As for the artist, he has dedicated his life to that goal.”

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“Bhagavad Gita says even a sannyasi who is in the renounced order should not give up yagya, daana and tapa. These purify even the liberated souls. Bhagavad Gita says communion with God is nothing but Art of all work. Art can be pursued as a self discipline, or as a munificent activity or as a loving offering celebrating life itself. It purifies all concerned.”

Yagya: Sacrificial offerings to the Supreme
Daana: Charity without strings attached to worthy persons
Tapa: Austerities performed with the only goal of purification and spiritual enlivenment

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