By Odisha Story Bureau, Bhubaneswar:
Drawing master of Digapahandi is no more
Noted Odia painter, author and historian Dinanath Pathy died of cardiac arrest, today morning. He was 74.
Pathy was admitted to a private hospital in Bhubaneswar after he complained of illness during his morning walk. He took his last breath there while undergoing treatment.
Pathy was known for his collaborations with German art historian Eberhard Fischer and his work with the Rietberg Society in Zurich, Switzerland. In 2014, he was nominated for the Rietberg Award, recognising his lifetime’s work and contribution to Indian art history. He was known for promoting Odia art all over the world, in addition to writing poetry and teaching.
Born in 1942 and brought up in a family of artists and poets in South Odisha’s Digapahandi, Dinanath Pathy started career as a muralist, theatre curtain painter and a make-up boy. After his apprenticeship in his brother’s atelier “Silpa Kala Mandira” he studied at Khallikote (painting), Bhubaneswar (Ph.D. in History) and Santiniketan (Ph.D. in Art History). Then he taught Drawing and Painting in Kendriya Vidyalaya, Bhubaneswar (1967-72), Curator of Arts and Crafts in the Odisha State Museum (1972-79). As Divisional Manager of Orissa Tourism (1979-84), he designed publicity literature and a year-round Art Exhibition programme – Chitra Baramasi. He also worked as State Visualiser for Government of Odisha for major national and international exhibitions including Kalinga Bali Yatra, Festival in BaH, Indonesia (1993). He was the Designer, Curator and Commissioner for Festival of India, Exhibition – Indian Popular Art in Sweden and USSR (1987).
One of the pioneers of the Contemporary Art Movement in Odisha (1962-2003) Pathy was responsible for the establishment of first Art College “Chitram” at Bhubaneswar and later founder Principal of the Government B. K. College of Art and Crafts, Bhubaneswar, Odisha (1984-94). He was the Secretary of the National Academy of Art, New Delhi (1994-96) and was a Jawaharlal Nehru Fellow (1996-98).
He has authored creative literature, Le. art fictions in Odia: Sayonara, 1998, Punarnava, 1999, Slokachhanda, 2000, Gangavatarana, 2003, Punjikayanra Fakira, 2004, Chilika Panire Chhai, 2005, Gachha Koradare Hrudaya and a poetry anthology in Odia: Chitrasala, 1998.
His autobiography Digapahandira Drawing Mastre bagged Odisha Sahitya Akademi award in 1993. He is a recipient of President of India Silver Plaque for Painting (AIFACS, 1988), A. L. Basham Memorial Award for creative research from the Institute of Oriental and Odishan Studies (1986) and International Award in 98′ China Art Exposition and Kalashree Award for Iifetime achievement (AIFACS, 2001).
He has published over forty books on classical, traditional, tribaI, folk, rural and contemporary art of Odisha – including Mural Paintings in Odisha, Odisha Lalit Kala Akademi, Bhubaneswar, 1981, Traditional Paintings of Odisha, WOrking Artists Association of Odisha, Bhubaneswar, 1990, (Edited) TribaI Art: Primitivism and Modern Re/evance, Working Artists Association of Odisha, Bhubaneswar, 1991, (Edited) Jayadeva and Gftagovinda in the Traditions of Odisha, Harman, New Delhi, 1995, Painted Icons: Wall Paintings of the Sauras of South Odisha, Harman Publishing House, New Delhi and Crafts Council of Odisha, Bhubaneswar, 1996, (Edited) Oddiyan: Six Contemporary Painters, Harman Publishing House, New Delhi, 1997, (Edited) The Continuity in the Flux Orissa, Harman Publishing House, New Delhi, and Working Artists Association of Odisha and Odisha Media Centre, Bhubaneswar, 1999, Essence of Odishan Painting, 2000, Art: Regional Traditions – The Temple of Jagannatha: Architecture, Sculpture, Painting and Ritual, Sundeep Prakashan, New Delhi, 2001, (Edited) Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom: Contemporary Art of Odisha, Working Artists Association of Odisha, Bhubaneswar, and Aryan Books International, New Delhi, 2001.
Pathy extensively travelled, visited museums, archives, galleries, art institutions and historic sites, interacted with artists and scholars, and lectured, in Europe on the invitation of Museum Rietberg, in Britain as British Council Fellow, in China as the invited artist of Chinese Artists’ Association, in Japan on a short term fellowship awarded by Japan Foundation, worked in Egypt, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore as an art visualiser, commissioner, curator and designer. For some time he was an Alice Boner Fellow and recipient of the EBF-award.
He had attended 44th Odisha Society of the Americas (OSA) convention in 2013 and awarded with lifetime achievement award for his contribution to art and literature.
He was the President of Orissa Lalit Kala Akademi (State Academy of Art), Bhubaneswar.
His death has left irreplaceable void in Indian Art arena.
Several politicians, including Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik and many senior politicians, authors and artists condoled the demise of Dinanath pathy.