An entirely self-taught artist, Deviprasad Chandrashekhar Rao (fondly known as Devi) quit his job in PR & Marketing some years ago to embark on an artistic adventure. He escaped into a world of his own, a world where picture-making is paramount. Rebelling against conformist ideas of composition and structure, Devi created a language all his own to articulate his world the way he saw it. Through constant doodling, drawing and sketching he evolved his own artistic idiom of form. Lines, dots, squiggles, amorphous shapes – Devi’s creative vocabulary is replete with its own syntax and grammar of forms. He communicates his language through paper, canvas, wire sculpture and even his own body. Devi draws out lines, pulling them across here, finishing them abruptly there, layering them with blotches and flecks. His canvases are sprayed and strewn with dots and daubs of paint. These forms are his characters, script and symbols. These are his alphabet.
Devi’s works over the last decade has shown progress along his aesthetic journey. He has visited various thematic concerns over time and while his primary occupation has been to finesse his own idiom, Devi has helped many others along his journey. An art teacher and founder of the Mango Tree School of Art for young children in the Sunaparanta Centre for the Arts in Goa, Devi has constantly encouraged his students to find the artist within.
His own experiments and experience with form have developed into a signature style. Devi’s initial series, Beyond Barcelona captures the artist’s fascination with the vibrant city – a city where he first came face to face with Gaudi and Miro’s works. Devi was deeply influenced by the Catalan masters and Barcelona became a spur for him to create an authentic artistic response. Large canvases feature Devi’s early experiments with shape and colour to capture the essence of a city he still feels a deep unconscious connection with. Here, the forms are still robust and solid and depict a world of urban modernity.
An interest in introspection and meditation coupled with curiosity about the Tibetan faith, led to the Buddha series. Here, the forms get more ambiguous yet there is more detail and density as well. The artist explores themes of seeker and truth, awareness and faith. His own spiritual quest is mirrored in these abstract works, with hints of figuration. The body, the physical is not all that important, is the apparent realization. It is the inner world that takes centre-stage, a state of formless awareness.
Concurrently, Devi’s creativity is sparked by the everyday and his immediate environment. His earlier preoccupation with the ethereal finds expression in Floating World – a world where there are Cosmic Clusters and weightless forms suspended in space, a world where everything is light and buoyant. Devi’s visual language now evolves to a new maturity. There is plenty of detail and density in line and form. The compositions are intense yet appear to be light and whimsical. The artist is getting lighter and more playful and these flights of fancy truly bring out Devi’s innate child-like and innocent spirit. Devi also tries out brass wire as a medium of expression and the delicate lines and fine poetry of his canvases are reflected in his sculptures as well. Ascend to something higher, seek weightless grace suggest these works. The whole world is at play (or should be) and we should just go with the flow.
The artist’s mischievous brushstrokes find new inspiration in the Transformer series. Inspired by all things mobile and mechanical as well as the Transformer films, Devi takes his spiritual quest one step further. Nothing is what it seems and only change is constant. Robot-like figures are delineated through Devi’s trademark squiggles and scribbles and seem to burst out of their flat coloured backgrounds. The possibilities for transformation are immense – both for these mechanical figures, and by implication, for us human beings.
This curiosity with machines, with technology and the mechanics of discovering the inner workings of things leads the artist to the Construction/Deconstruction series. Inspired by everyday things and daily scenes of life, this series actually found its take-off point in Devi’s neighbourhood, at a time when there was a host of construction and building activity. The artist represents his view of these buildings in a finished/half-finished state through aerial maps of the sites. These abstract representations have more linear defined forms that are solidly attached in some places and seem to drift away in others. It takes time and effort to achieve a full state of being, a complete state of construction. We are, after all, like a building site, a work in progress, trying to take shape.
All along, Devi’s artistic adventure mirrors his spiritual preoccupations. If we have the large canvases of Cosmic Cluster and Construction/Deconstruction on one hand, we have the tiny Minutaie series as well, which are more delicate and patterned. There is a zooming in, a close up of Devi’s imaginary world where he employs his visual language to charming effect. Figuration makes a re-appearance and again there are suggestions and hints, rather than fully defined figures. The Minuataie series is marked by tenderness and a meditative calm.
Devi’s art has taken many forms through the years and found multiple modes of expression. A live installation artist as well, Devi has delved deep into the self to explore or rather discover his true identity. There have been phases in which he focuses more on action painting and Pollock-like artistry but then returns to his meditative musings. Even during his action painting, there is no crazed distortion of form but a very controlled deliberate delineation. Devi rebels against convention and the banality of tradition, yes. But, he does fall back on fine detail, crosshatched strokes and a wealth of spare lines to render his potent eloquent works of art. Authenticity is key. Explore your intuition, find your spontaneity, live your art is the credo he lives by. Through this website, we have seen some of the ways in which he has found expression. If not on canvas and paper, he has found it on himself. Covering himself with his trademark lines and dots, he has transformed himself into a persona with no identity, save that of an artist. Indeed, Devi’s art is him and he is – his art.
March - 2012
DEVIPRASAD C RAO
Born: 1970 in India
M I L E S T O N E S
22 paintings from various series were featured as illustrations including cover of the Frankfurt based quarterly German magazine called ‘evolve’ on their July-September 2018 issue. Interview on Devi in the same magazine can be read (in German) on blog of the editor at https://www.evolve-magazin.de/blog/devi/
Devi’s works are part of permanent collection at FUNDAÇÃO ORIENTE MUSEU (The Oriente Museum): 58 works of the solo exhibition LISBON IMPACT (17 Canvas Paintings, 23 Minutiaes and 18 Mixed-Media Drawings) become part of the permanent collection of the FUNDAÇÃO ORIENTE MUSEU, Lisbon, Portugal.
Commissioned project SKY CITY, mural on ceiling 40x12 ft (1200x360 cm), guided by Sonny Singh, for newly opened The Cube Gallery, Moira, Goa, India.
Commissioned project IN MEMORY OF JOAN MIRO AND BARCELONA, three-dimensional painting on set of four chairs and a table, mentored by Darryl Pereira, Saligao, Goa, India.
Founder and Director of MANGO TREE CHILDREN’S ART SCHOOL, Sunaparanta Goa Centre For The Arts, Panaji, Goa, India.
E X H I B I T I O N S
Solo exhibition titled ‘MY JOURNEY TO PORTUGAL’ presented by Consul General of Portugal in Goa and CARPE DIEM ART GALLERY - GOA at Majorada, GOA, India. (24th August to 13th September)
Solo exhibition titled ‘MY JOURNEY TO PORTUGAL’ presented by Consul General of Portugal in Goa and World Trade Centre, Mumbai at South Lounge, World Trade Centre, MUMBAI, India. (5th August to 9th August)
Solo exhibition titled ‘MY JOURNEY TO PORTUGAL - PRELUDE’ of water colour on paper miniature paintings presented by Portuguese Embassy’s Cultural Centre in New Delhi in association with India International Centre at Indian International Centre Annex, NEW DELHI, India. Exhibition was inaugurated by H.E. Ambassador of Portugal in India Dr Joao Da Camara. (19th July to 26th July)
Group Exhibition with noted Indian artists including Late M.F.Husein in ABU DHABI (UAE) titled INDIAN KALEIDOSCOPE presented by Gallery Orchid, Mangalore.
Solo exhibition PRATIYAAN (Returning to the source) depicting last 10 years of works from Beyond Barcelona series to Lisbon Calling Series, curated by William Pais at Gallery Orchid, Mangalore, India.
Solo exhibition LISBON CALLING, showcasing Den-City series of works based on city of Lisbon, capital of Portugal, presented and hosted by Rui Baceira, Consul General of Portugal in Goa at Marquinez Palace, Panaji, Goa, India.
Solo exhibition LISBON IMPACT at FUNDAÇÃO ORIENTE MUSEU (The Oriente Museum), 210 displayed works (paintings, drawings, alternative photography and a video installation) based on the city of Lisbon, curated by Sofia Muller e Sousa, 11th December 2014 - 25th January 2015, Lisbon, Portugal.
Solo exhibition TAKING FORMS, showcasing progression of works from 2007-12, curated by Samira Seth and presented by Mr. & Mrs. Duttaraj Salgaoncar, Sunaparanta Goa Centre For The Arts, Panaji, Goa, India.
Group exhibition DRAW THE LINE, curated by Margaret Mascarenhas, launch of first mobile brass wire sculptures, Sunaparanta Goa Centre For The Arts, Panaji, Goa, India.
Group exhibition BLACK & WHITE, curated by Devi himself, which show cases synthesis between painting, fashion and jewellery with fashion designer Syne Cutinho and jewellery designer Elena Fedosenko at Syne, Panaji, Goa, India.
Live Performing Installation LIVE YOUR ART 2 (five days/nights), curated by Margaret Mascarenhas, India International Film Festival, Sunaparanta Goa Centre For The Arts, Panaji, Goa, India.
Group exhibition CARNIVAL OF COLOURS, Ruchika Art Gallery, Panaji, Goa, India.
Solo exhibition FLOATING WORLD, curated by William Paes, Orchid Art Gallery, Mangalore, India.
Live Performing Installation LIVE YOUR ART (seven days/nights), curated by Margaret Mascarenhas, during the process Devi created 12x9 ft mural CITY OF JOY, Sunaparanta Goa Centre For The Arts, Panaji, Goa, India.
Solo exhibition MINUTIAE, Galleria Visu, Kokkola, Finland.
Group exhibition ARTIST IN ARMS, curated by David Whitefield, two-men-show with artist David Whitefield, Gallery La Grande, Civrey, France.
Solo exhibition ARTIST OF THE FLOATING WORLD, curated by Margaret Mascarenhas and presented Rohita Doshi, Gallery Art Point, MUMBAI, India.
Group exhibition GOAN CONTEMPORARIES, curated by Margaret Mascarenhas and presented by Anwar Siddiqi, Nehru Centre, London, UK.
Solo exhibition MINUTIAE SERIES, curated by Taina Snellman, Tikau Art, Helsinki, Finland.
Group exhibition GOAN MASTERS – PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE, Ruchika Art Gallery, Panaji, Goa, India.
Solo exhibition BEYOND BARCELONA PRELUDE, curated by Swatee Nair Kotwal, Gallery Attic, Panaji, Goa, India.
Group exhibition with artists from Finland, Annan Galleria, Helsinki, Finland.
Group exhibition THREE AMIGOS, curated by Manju Sathia, along with artists Suhas Shilker and Swatee Nair Kotwal, Mon Art Gallery, Kolkata, India.
Group exhibition with artists from Goa, Gallery Beyond, Mumbai, India.
Solo exhibition BONDAGE TO FREEDOM, curated by Rudolf Ludwig, Gallery Art Chamber, Calangute, Goa, India.
Solo exhibition PORTRAIT OF EXISTANCE, self-curated, Literati – The Book Cafe, Calangute Goa, India.
Solo exhibition HERE TO INFINITY, self-curated, Gallery Inox Art Lounge, Panaji, Goa, India.
Solo exhibition CHANTS OF A MONK, HSBC Bank Art Gallery of K. K. Nag Foundation, Pune, India.
Solo exhibition EXPERIENCING THE UNKNOWABLE, presented by Athul Anand, Oshoworld Galleria, New Delhi, India.
C U R A T O R I A L W O R K S
Solo exhibition of paintings and drawings MYSTERY OF EXCISTENCE by SUHAS SHILKER, Sunaparanta Goa Centre For The Arts, Panaji, Goa, India.
Solo exhibition of photography BY THE WAY by PETER DE GOA, Sunaparanta Goa Centre For The Arts, Panaji, Goa, India.
Group exhibition MONSOON ART FESTIVAL of 22 Goan contemporary artists, Kala Academy, Panaji, Goa, India.
Group exhibition INNOCENT STROKES of Devi’s students (28 children aged between 5-12 years), Office of the Portuguese Consul General, Panaji, Goa, India.
N O T E
Devi’s works are also in private and public collections in countries such as Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Mexico, Portugal, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States of America.