Shanti Dave was born in Ahmedabad in 1931. He is a student of the first batch of 1956 at the University of Baroda. His early work was based on miniature paintings which also had some element of cubist distortion.
All the works have been more figurative. Probably due to the influence of the rural environment of his childhood, he has tried to depict the same environment in his paintings. But there is no romantic feeling in them.
Rural subjects like figures of panghat, bullock cart, fishermen, farmers, etc., and backgrounds of huts, fields, etc., ornate colorful clothes, etc. have been depicted in a very sensitive manner in flat colors with deep border lines.
Natural beauty has emerged in the elongated shapes and distortions affected by materialistic technology in which there is no trace of artificiality. The effect of the paintings looks like Manikuttim.
From 1959, Dave started using different materials and techniques in his paintings, including transparent colors, and colors applied like a thick paste, apart from scratching the painted surface with a sharp object at some places, he also used sand and pebbles. Also started to be considered from the point of view of diversity and abundance of surface effects.
But when he realized that he should work only with colors on canvas, he abandoned the use of this external material. He started using wax for darker colors. With this, he was successful in making the picture look like a relief carving.
Dave took the story out of the pictures altogether and gave more importance to the design of the picture.
Therefore, very efficient division of the painting surface and combination of proportions and colors of figures, etc. started being done very thoughtfully.
At some places, the color on the surface of the painting is raised or protruding up to an inch. To balance and oppose this, large areas of the picture have been made in transparent colors.
With this, they have created a special kind of confusion. In some places, the raised surfaces appear normal and the floors near them give the impression of being deep or pitted.
The effect of detail or distance given by colors in the picture further increases this illusion. Colors create surface effects as before, although now the powers of their colors have become more subtle.
In some of his new paintings, the flat-colored surfaces appear like a calm ocean and the dark-colored spots appear like clusters of buildings. This dark color has not been applied evenly but has been applied with some roughness which looks like the ruins of buildings and gives a mysterious and timeless feeling to the pictures.
Shanti Dave has created his own identity due to his personal technique and style. Their creation process and techniques are labor-intensive. His paintings related to abstract language impressed me because of their new experiments.
He has been the most successful among the new artists. He has received many awards and honors, including three from the Lalit Kala Akademi and the Tokyo Biennial. He has also painted beautiful murals for Air India and many other major institutions.
In 1985, Shanti Dave was awarded “Padma Shri” by the Government of India. Shri Dave is a founding member of Baroda Group of Artists.
Apart from India, he has held exhibitions in Manila, Switzerland, Germany, Egypt, Italy, Paris, New York, London, Brazil, Japan, Kabul, Washington, Ohio Los Angeles, etc.