Lemuel R. Patole - Artist
Lemuel Patole A A( A
Lemuel R. Patole, internationally known as Anand Patole, was born on February 28, 1930, in Sholapur, India. Patole inherited his artistic talent from his mother who had studied art in school. At a tender age, certain visual experiences, such as seeing a live cobra in the grass with the hood up, and a massive elephant walking on the street, thrilled and filled Patole with the inspiration to draw. It is as if "Naagraj" (king of snakes) and "Gajraj" (elephant king) evoked his creative spirit, bringing it to the surface level of consciousness. Patole believes that he was born with the “vasana” (inborn passion) to create rather than God giving him the talent. During his early years, “vasana” to create expressed itself through various mediums such as singing, playing musical instruments, acting, writing, and ultimately, it settled down on painting.
After his high school graduation, Patole went to study art at the Acharekar Academy of Fine Arts in Mumbai and finished his four years of studies in fine arts painting. His teacher, the late great Murlidhar Acharekar, who was an art director at the renowned Raj Kapoor (RK) Film Studio, offered Patole a job as one of his assistants. Patole worked with him on three feature films: “Shri 420,” “Jagate Raho" and “Jis Desh Me Ganga Bahati Hai." However, the glitter and glamor of the cinema world were not challenging enough for Patole's creative ability, and consequently, he quit his job.
Patole was then invited by his friend Panna Jain to spend the time of the Diwali festival (festival of lights) in Rajasthan, where he stayed for one month. There he painted some portraits of the Gadotri (Gadia) Lohar community, and landscapes of Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal and Pushkar Mela in watercolor. His first solo art show was “Life in Rajasthan” at Jehangir Art Gallery in 1957, which helped to establish him as a recognized artist in Mumbai.
STUDIES AND SETTLING ABROAD
In the following years, Patole received a scholarship from the American Marathi Mission to study art at the New York School of Visual Arts in the USA. After completing three years of studies in modern art at that institution, Patole returned to Mumbai and gave solo shows of his paintings and etchings at the Taj Art Gallery in 1967 and 1968. Four of the etchings on “Genesis” were purchased for the art collection of the renowned nuclear physicist Dr. Homi Bhabha. Subsequently followed purchases of the same by Wilson College and Ahmednagar College, both renowned institutions in India. Two of Patole’s abstract paintings were bought by an American tourist, and it was this particular patronage that became the source of encouragement for Patole to go back and settle down in America, which he did in 1970.
New York City, being the melting pot of all cultures and respected for its art and culture throughout the world, offered a formidable challenge for Patole to prove his talent in a new environment filled with high expectations. Within a relatively short time, Patole gained his ground in the art world of New York. His abstract impressionist work using Hindu themes and symbolism, applying his own technique of acrylic and metallic paint combinations were greatly admired by viewers in the great metropolis. These paintings resemble centuries-old metallic plates excavated from the Earth. Here is what the art critic Jay Fillan (Bay News of Brooklyn) says about Parole’s work of the 1970s:
“Futurists have been saying for the past 20 years that the spread of technology from West to East would result in a return current of Eastern culture flowing West. Out of this spread of cultures will come a new planetary culture, it is said, a fusion of Western science and Eastern spiritualism. His (Patole's) art is a mixture of Classical Indian and Modernist Western. The style is classic in the sense that it communicates with classical Eastern symbols, against a cubist abstract plane.”
MEMORIES WITH GREATS
Patole proudly calls himself a painter from following a batch of the “Progressive Artists Group” movement of the 1950s in Mumbai. Those were the days! It was a time when Patole could find Hebbar, Ara, Souza, Raza, Samant, Gaitonde, Padamsi, Mehta, and others, like a wandering “fakir” (seeker of higher things) in the Jehangir Art Gallery. Patole remembers the time when Magpul Hussain, after some controversy, was admitted to the “Progressive” group of painters. Hussain came from Pandharpur and Patole came from Sholapur, two cities in close proximity, and this is how the two artists knew each other.
Various painters of repute, namely Francis Newton Souza, Mohan Samant, Natwar Bhavsar, Bhagwan Kapur, Krishna Reddy, Zarina Hashmi, Tara Sabarwal, Ela Shah, Chandini Pawar, Archana Santra and Anand Patole settled in New York. Vasudeo Gaitonde, one of India's foremost abstract painters, came to see Patole at his studio during his visit to New York. While at his solo show in New York, the renowned Indian painter S. H. Raza enjoyed renewing his friendship with Patole in the gallery. Magpul Hussain would say “Hello” whenever he was in New York.
Indian painters that had settled in New York were invited to give a group show of their paintings at the Indian consulate in 1976. This show was inaugurated by the Honorable Atal Bihari Vajpayee, (former Prime Minister of India). The one and only painting sold at that art show were “Holy Tree” by Anand Patole.
These are a few of the many fond memories that Patole recalls.
GOSPEL THROUGH EASTERN EYES
Patole had certain projects in his mind when he decided to move and settle down in New York: (1) Bringing the Gospel to the USA as seen through the Eastern eyes, and (2) creating a series of paintings on the “Apostles’ Creed” (the affirmation of the Christian faith). The National Council of Churches of New York sponsored him to complete 12 paintings on the “Creed,” which were then exhibited at their Treasure Room Gallery, as well as at the Church Center for the United Nations and the Bible Society of New York. Patole created a slideshow/filmstrip from the paintings using his “tabla” drum music for the background. One prestigious university in the USA offered an honorary Ph.D. to Patole which he humbly refused.
Patole gave over twenty-five art shows with the theme of "Gospel through Eastern Eyes.” These took place in churches and universities in the USA. His paintings - such as “Lotus Jesus,” “Blue Jesus,” “Serpent of Salvation,” “Third Eye of Jesus,” Angry Jesus," “Cleansing of the Temple (Christ with three pairs of arms symbolizing Trinity)” and others were viewed by Western Christians for the first time. Over one hundred coconuts were broken in churches while demonstrating Christian worship in an Eastern ritualistic manner. “This is the first time that Christian worship has been done in the Hindu manner in the history of the Bible Society of New York,” said the director of the Society.
NEW YORK EXHIBITIONS
Besides his church-related activities, Patole's paintings are exhibited regularly at the JM Gallery on 57th street in Manhattan. The gallery has proudly presented him in international art events. In 2009, Patole gave a retrospective art show of his paintings at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.
UNDERTAKING OF “culturalclinging.com”
“culturalclinging.com” is a self-initiated art project encouraged by prominent members of the art-loving community in New York. Having seen Patole's paintings of the 1970s, certain connoisseurs expressed that an art show of this nature can be meaningful today as well. Such encouragement inspired Patole to undertake “culturalclinging.com” as a community project, adding his own insight to the works in the project.
It is said that imitation is the highest form of flattery. In the field of the arts, one remains as creator and the rest are imitators. The thin line between the creator and the imitator is apparent to the one who has experienced the mystery behind Vedic wisdom of “seven bodies, seven minds, seven dreams, seven layers of consciousness," etc. The artist entering into the fourth body starts producing dreams seen through the inner eyes, coloring them in his own abstract impressionistic style. Patole, himself a dreamer, can easily blend well with the dreams of other artists, reading them and using them as a backdrop suitable to his theme. One such result is the painting called “OM - THE JOURNEY BEGINS,” about a mortal human being seemingly on his journey into the unknown, based on a painting by Fred Otnes. The Otnes work is used as a base imposing the age-old mystical symbol of “OM” as a guiding light.
In another painting, “HINDU TRINITY,” Patole makes use of elongated imagery of the head in blue by F. N. Souza, attaching two more heads to convert them into the Holy Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara (the three aspects of the Hindu Trinity) against the morning sunrise.
In the painting “TRIPLE CRUCIFIX,” the battered head of Christ by F. N. Souza stems out with three pairs of arms given by Patole, symbolizing the crucifixion of the Christian Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
In the painting “YONI,” a work based on the painting of a seated nude woman by Magpul Hussain, Patole has her bearing a child, symbolizing God coming to the Earth in a human body. No sin is committed. The works of master dreamers like Pablo Picasso, Jagdish Swaminathan, and others get a spiritual facelift in Patole's work, where the viewers can walk hand in hand inside the dreamland of the master painters with guidelines provided. Hopefully, the viewers will find "culturalclinging.com" to be an educational and enriching experience.
RECENT EXHIBITIONS IN INDIA
After over 20 years of being away from the land of his birth, Patole went on his “Past-n-Present” art exhibition tour 2016 in India. The exhibitions were held in four cities: Mumbai, Pune, Ahmadnagar and Jaipur, and included digital prints representing 40 years of Patole’s work in New York. The art shows were highly admired by local visitors, who expressed great interest in the next exhibition with original paintings in the near future. Patole also gave a talk at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai, India.
LEARNING FROM LIFE
From an early age, Patole was deeply interested in discovering the “ultimate” in painting, music (tabla playing) and spirituality. His searching is reflected in his art - dominated by religious themes and episodes from the Hindu and Christian religions, ultimately finding his own “God” in art itself. Patole believes that his life is like three rivers: Art, Music, and Spirituality carving their own paths, meeting at one point and merging into the shoreless ocean. So to say, from color to color eternal - “Rang Brahma”; from sound to sound eternal - “Naad Brahma”; and spiritual transformation from “Dharma to Swadharma” (religion to Self-Realization).
Painting for Patole is a spontaneous play with colors to enter into a state of being in which the creation takes over the creator, the unconscious takes over the conscious, no mind takes over the mind. ~ Chitra Taalkar, New York
"PAINTING COMING OUT OF THE PAINTER IS MARVELOUS. PAINTER COMING OUT OF THE PAINTING IS MARVEL OF THE MARVELOUS," says Bhagawan Shree Osho Rajneesh, the source of spiritual guiding light in life to Patole.
BOOK: "COLORFUL LINES OF MY MEMOIRS” - Marathi edition in 2001 and English edition in 2009 published by Swarang Creations. Pune, India.
(1) “COMING OF THE MONSOON” - A lecture-demonstration on tabla (paired hand drums from India). Patole has performed with professional musicians visiting New York. (2) Rag Pilu on sitar by Amit Chatterjee and tabla by Anand Patole.
After over 20 years, Patole went on his “Past-n-Present” art exhibition tour 2016 in India. The Exhibitions were held in four cities: Mumbai, Pune, Ahmadnagar and Jaipur, and included digital prints of 40 years of Patole’s work in New York. The art shows were highly admired by local visitors showing interest in the next exhibition with original paintings in the near future. Patole also gave a talk at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai, India.
* Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, 1959
* Zwmer Hall, Holland, Holland, Michigan, USA 1963
* Church Center for the United Nations, New York, 1965
* Taj Art Gallery Mumbai, 1967 and 1968
* Treasure Room Gallery, New York, 1972
* Bible Society Gallery, New York, 1973
* 25 Art Shows for Universities, and Churches in America 1971 - 75
* Jain Marunouchi Gallery in Manhattan, 1992 – 2000, Group and solo shows.
* RETROSPECTIVE ART SHOW at the United Nations, HQ, New York, 2009
* “Past-n-Present” art exhibition tour 2016 in India, 2016
* LINE-ART, Belgium, 2000
* EUROPE ART, Geneva, Switzerland, 2001
* ART EXPO, New York Coliseum, 1977
* INDIAN PAINTERS GROUP SHOW, at the Indian Consulate, New York, 1978
* INDIAN PAINTERS GROUP SHOW, Jacob Javits Center, New York, 1992
* World Peace Festival, New York, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019
* World Yoga Festival, New York, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019
* Earth Day Festival, New York, 2015 - 2019
* 25th Annual World Yoga Festival, Goa, India - 2018