The current exhibition is a rare event for the art connoisseurs as it provides a much awaited opportunity to see the works of J Raj after nearly half a century of his self imposed withdrawal.
Jawarchand Dassani aka J Raj in the world of fine arts, was born in 1943, at Barwaha in the Khargone district of the erstwhile Central Provinces of undivided British India.
His penchant for the fine arts was evident from his early school days. The young Jawar took an early plunge into the world of arts and worked under the renowned artist Shri Ramji Verma at Indore. It was Ramji Verma who realised the unbridled potential in the young man and motivated him to pursue higher education in this field at Shantiniketan.
The years 1962-66 metamorphised the budding artist into a skilled and path breaking expositor of his chosen genre. Henceforth he came to be recognised by his signature of J Raj.
His stay at Shantiniketan exposed him to the influence of icons like Nandlal Bose, Sudhir Kastagir, Kiran Singh and Surendranath Ganguly. He had the fortune of being trained by giants like Ramkinkar Baij and Binod Bihari Mukherjee. It was under the latter and Sukhmoy Mitra that J Raj undertook his academic research in the field of Jain Miniature paintings from 1966-68.
While his early works were not preserved, his creations during the period 1966-73 found place of pride in the exhibitions at Barwaha, Indore, Gwalior, Shantiniketan, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Windsor, Detroit, New York. In addition to the one man shows in the above mentioned cities, he also participated in many group shows. His first patron was Mulk Raj Anand, the then chairman of Lalit Kala Academy, who bought three of his paintings.
The high point of his artistic career was an exhibition of ‘Empty Canvases’ at the Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata in 1968 which got international recognition and was mentioned even by the great sculptor Henry Moor in one of his lectures at London.
For the last 43 years, though J Raj has ceased exhibitions of his works, he continues to pursue his calling solely for his own satisfaction. In the last decade, he has devoted himself to the Chinese and Japanese style of painting using black ink on paper.
His creations in this style are in thousands. The sight of these works reveal a very powerful and irresistible brush stroke in the hands of J Raj.