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Jyoti Bhatt


Jyoti Bhatt was born in 1934 in Bhavnagar, Gujarat. He grew up in a stimulating environment, where his father managed the educational institute 'Shishu-Vihar', which trained and guided young art students. This proved highly influential as Bhatt took an interest in drawing at an early age and went on study and then teach at numerous art schools across the world. He studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Baroda from 1950 to 1956, under NS Bender, KG Subramanyan and Sankho Choudhuri. During these years he also learnt the art of fresco painting at Banasthali Vidyapith in Rajasthan and began teaching. In 1961 Bhatt won an Italian government scholarship to study at the Academia Di Belle Arti in Naples for two years. From Italy, he went to the Pratt institute in New York, where he had received a Fulbright fellowship. He was trained in the graphic arts and began to take a particular interest in printmaking.

Bhatt returned to Vadodara in 1966 and continued to teach painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts. However his own interests were deviating away from painting, towards his new passions of printmaking and photography. In 1967 Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan organised a seminar in Bombay on the folk arts of Gujarat and it was this that inspired Bhatt to begin working on what was to become a major, but relatively unexplored part of his work. He travelled through Gujarat, visiting villages and tribal regions, much of which he had never seen before and took photographs of the changing world he encountered. His pursuit to qualify the camera as a painter's tool is evident in the landmark exhibition he organised in 1969, 'Painters with a Camera'.

Bhatt's work is held in over twenty-six public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, Delhi, the Uffizi Gallery, Florence and the British Museum, London. He has won numerous prizes including The Presidents Gold Plaque, gold medal at the International Print Biennale, Italy, UNESCO Photo contest, Japan and the top prize and 'FOTOKINA' World Photography Contest, Germany. He has also painted a number of public murals including at Parliament House, New Delhi. To date he has had over twenty-five solo shows, both in India and abroad. He lives and continues to work in Vadodara, India.