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Village Letters Prafulla Mohanti

27 Sep 2022-20 Jan 2023

First solo exhibition of artist Prafulla Mohanti in London since 2008

Opening 27 September 2022, iniva is proud to present Prafulla Mohanti’s first solo exhibition in London since 2008.  

Following Prafulla Mohanti’s exhibition Full Circle, curated by Future Collect Curatorial Trainee Amber Li at The Hepworth Wakefield, iniva is delighted to support the work of Prafulla Mohanti with a new solo exhibition titled Village Letters, opening at the Stuart Hall Library. 

The exhibition includes drawings that have never been shown before, next to the artist’s emblematic paintings and textiles. Village Letters focuses on all six Prafulla’s published books: My Village, My Life: Portrait of an Indian Village (1974), Indian village tales (1975), Through Brown Eyes (1985), Changing Village, Changing Life (1990), Longing: Poems (2004) and Shunya: Prafulla Mohanti, Paintings (2012), and reflects on the artist’s fundamental relationship with his village. Born in Nanpur (Odisha, India), Prafulla still visits his village every year, where he also runs an educational project for young people. 

As part of a public programme, iniva’s curator, Beatriz Lobo, will run a reading session to reflect on social, political, spiritual and artistic stories presented on the books; and the artist Meera Shakti Osborne will lead on a series of workshops with local students, creating a zine in response to Prafulla’s work.  

Beatriz Lobo, Curator said, “It’s been a privilege to work with Prafulla Mohanti. The process has been rooted in care from both parts, allowing us to connect as curator and artist, and as friends. Village Letters focuses on Prafulla’s six published books. He’s a prolific writer and his stories have helped me to better comprehend the social, political and artistic contexts in Britain and India in the last six decades. I hope his generous honesty and resilient kindness touches everyone else’s hearts as it has touched mine”.

Prafulla Mohanti said,My identity is Prafulla, a villager, an artist. Artists belong to the world, without geographical borders, free like air and light. Artists bring so much beauty and joy to the world and should be more supported and appreciated. My aim in life is to create a spiritual world where everybody is happy and smiling. I’m very honored that iniva has given me the opportunity to exhibit my books, drawings and a few paintings, to share with the world what I have learned from my village.”

A limited-edition print will accompany the exhibition. This is a rare opportunity to own a very short-run giclee print from one of Prafulla’s iconic watercolour originals featuring his eye-catching motif of bright concentric circles. To find out more contact Jenny Starr, jstarr@iniva.org 

This project is supported by Freelands Foundation. 

About the artist

Prafulla Mohanti (b. India, 1936) was born and brought up in the village of Nanpur (Orissa), and moved to England in 1960 after graduating as an architect in Bombay. In 1964 he gained a diploma in town planning in Leeds, the same year his first solo exhibition of paintings was held. He worked as an architect-planner for the Greater London Council (1965 to 1969) but gave this up to devote himself to painting and writing. His paintings have been exhibited worldwide and are in several private and public collections including the British Museum, National Gallery of Modern Art (New Delhi), The Hepworth Wakefield, and ICCR-New Delhi.

Image credit: ©Arabinda K Padhee
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