Prolific Indian painter, Paresh Maity shares everything from his childhood inspiration to global expression

Mapping artistic thoughts.

Harper's Bazaar India

The roots of artistic passion can often be traced back to pivotal moments especially during one’s childhood. Such is the case for Indian painter Paresh Maity—an artist who credits the origin of his creative calling to Tamluk, a quaint village in Bengal. As a wide-eyed seven-year-old, Maity’s first encounter with artisans sculpting Durga Puja idols left an indelible mark on his impressionable mind. “It was just about a month before Durga Puja—our district had been hosting puja for nearly 100 years. The idols are created in the temple, not a pandal. Every other day, I would either skip school or find some time before or after to visit the temple and look at the idols, how they’d transform from one stage to another. That memory helped develop my childhood urge to become an artist,” shares Maity. 

The 58-year-old artist’s creative process is an ongoing symphony, one that plays through every waking moment of his life. Whether it is observing the minutiae of nature or being stirred by a chance encounter, inspiration strikes him like lightning only to later transform raw ideas into artistic creations. “There are many places in this world that have made a deep impact on my mind, and I recreate that impression using water colour, oil, or through sculptures. The moment you travel from one place to another, you interact with different people and witness different cultures, architecture, or languages,” says Maity while talking about his inspirations.  

Every artist has to tread a tightrope between experimentation and preserving artistic identity. For Maity, the path is no different. Experimentation is essential—it is a tribute to the ever-changing world we inhabit. Commenting on some of his recent works, he tells Bazaar India about the monumental, multi-genre solo exhibition titled ‘Infinite Light’, the largest ever by an Indian artist that unfolded across five major Indian cities—Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Goa. One particular installation at this grand showcase, which was hosted at Delhi’s India Habitat Centre, drew the attention and intrigue of art enthusiasts and curious onlookers alike. The installation featured a single, grand trumpet, measuring an impressive 17ft in length with a circular base that is 7ft in diameter. Surrounding this magnificent centrepiece is an ensemble of 45 smaller trumpets, almost as if to form a harmonious (visual) symphony. However, it is not just the aesthetic brilliance but the deeper purpose of this installation that makes it so appealing—it forces one to contemplate the impact of seemingly insignificant noises and how they contribute towards noise pollution. 

The Padma Shri awardee’s upcoming projects will also unveil an array of themes inspired by his travels—from the enchanting waterways of Venice to the ephemeral beauty of Japan’s cherry blossom. However, in a world brimming with influences, finding one’s voice can be challenging. Maity signs off by drawing upon the story of JMW Turner, a legendary British landscape painter whose legacy is one of relentless dedication: “Hard work is the greatest wealth in life. The more you work, the more you’ll mature and become stronger.”