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Shanti Panchal Hon RBA

Shanti Panchal was born in Mesar, a village in Gujarat, India, and studied at the Sir JJ School of Art, Bombay.

He came to England on a British Council scholarship to study at the Byam Shaw School of Art, London from 1978-80, and has lived and worked in London since.

He has been artist-in-residence at the British Museum, the Harris Museum in Preston and the Winsor & Newton Art Factory in London. He has exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions in Britain and abroad.

One-person exhibitions have included:

1988-9 Earthen Shades: Paintings by Shanti Panchal, organised by Cartwright Hall, Bradford and Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, which went on to tour ten public galleries

1993 Shanti Panchal: New Paintings, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford

1998-9 Shanti Panchal: The Windows of the Soul at Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham and Midlands Art Centre, Birmingham, and touring

2000 Shanti Panchal: Private Myths, Pitshanger Gallery, London and touring to:

2001 Cartwright Hall, Bradford, Blackburn Museum and Art Galleries, and

2002 Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry

2003 Shanti Panchal: A Personal Journey, a British Council touring exhibition in India

2007 Shanti Panchal: In the Mind's Eye, Chelmsford Museum.

2013 Shanti Panchal: Paintings of Exile and Home, Piano Nobile Gallery, London

2013-16 Shanti Panchal: The way of Watercolour, Hayletts Gallery, Maldon, Essex

2016-17 Shanti Panchal: The Ragas of the Dawn, Kings Place/Piano Nobile, London

He is renowned for his watercolour paintings, and has received awards at the John Moores Painting Prize, Liverpool and the BP Portrait Award, at the National Portrait Gallery, London. He won the Chris Beetles Award at the Royal Watercolour Society, Bankside Gallery in 1983, first prize in The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition in 2001, and in 2012 won the second. He won the prestigious Ruth Borchard self-portrait Prize in 2015 and last year in May 2016 was awarded Eastern Eye Award ACTA for the arts.

His work is in many private and public collections, including the Arts Council of England, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, The British Museum, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. In 1989 The Imperial War Museum commissioned his painting The Scissors, The Cotton and the Uniform, and in 2012 also acquired his painting The Boys Returned from Helmand for their Collection. Recently The Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Collection, London.

He contributed to a touring show At the Edge: British Art 1950-2000, at Touchstones Rochdale; Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston; Gallery Oldham and Bolton Museum & Art Gallery during 2009-10.

He represented the UK at the South Korea International Art Fair in Seoul in 2010.

He was invited in the Tate Britain-initiated exhibition Watercolour in Britain: Tradition and Beyond, touring Castle Museum, Norwich; Millennium Gallery, Sheffield and Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle during 2010-11.

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"There is a contemplative stillness and tranquillity about the paintings which at first belies the complex interplay of emotions and relationships between the figures. Both together and alone, the figures gaze wide-eyed into space, or appear to reflect inwardly. They hold our attention with a solemn grandeur, whether in a room or outside, their surroundings are free from distracting detail. The simplicity of their settings suggests that they could be anywhere - in many places all at once, both real and imagined. They have therefore a timeless quality which gives them universal appeal. The figures tend not to make eye contact with one another; they look away, do not overtly connect, suggesting a subtle tension or deep emotions beneath the surface.

Over the years, the artist have developed a distinctive approach to the watercolour medium. The paintings are created slowly and meditatively, over a long period, on thick, textured paper which, through sturdy application and scraping, soaks up the pigment. Colour is loaded onto the surface, building up wash upon wash, and colours are mixed there, rather than on a palette. This method gives the colours fresco-like depth and intensity. Paint does not simply sit on the surface but permeates the entire thickness of the paper and becomes a vibrant part of it."

- London, September 2015

Artwork by Shanti Panchal