The son of a farmer, Moreshwar Patil grew up in a village with little access to art materials. He would draw with his one, much cherished pencil, on the back of old calendars, make clay figures or help paint the colourful backdrops for the votive images of Ganesh, the elephant headed God. Today, at the airport project, he comes full circle as he paints the 127 square feet wall, as the backdrop to the Naga section, in the Silent Sentinels.
Patil studied at the J.J. School of Art in Mumbai, in the 1980s, mastering academic realism and demonstrating a remarkable attention to detail in the treatment of the human form, still life and drapery. An assignment at the Shah house in Mumbai was the first site-specific assignment he worked on, and interestingly with the same curator he works with again, here, at the airport.
Asked to create an entire ceiling of vintage textile images, he had to visually deconstruct traditional carpets and recompose their elements, as a series of Plaster of Paris panels, and then deliberately 'age' the paintwork applied to give the appearance of a carpet that had been worn and faded with use.
In the years since, Patil has created a niche for himself with a number of site-specific installations that transform ceilings and walls into painted photo-realist swathes of vintage textiles. To Patil, these works provide a challenge of scale and medium, but more importantly, they offer a permanence that gallery shows cannot.
Here, both artist and scale of project, seem to come together in a perfect match.