Vijay Bagodi Dean of Fine Arts Faculty Baroda
Vijay Bagodi-Tones of Black and White
Interviewed by Dr.M.Balamani
Vijay Bagodi born in a modest family from Gulbarga, except drawing and painting, reading and writing was never tasteful for him. He never knew that drawing and painting can become a carrier to feed bread and butter. He never knew till he reached Baroda that such magnum institutes can exist for art teaching. That Vijay is the Dean of Fine Arts Faculty of Baroda today.
His work is one of the explanations for contemporary arts. Black was considered as a colour of dismay and sorrow but he proved otherwise. He expressed many and different expressions in one colour. Social struggles and situations and the meanings of people’ behavior are given forms and figures in his work. He created the forms of one tone but to visualize difference of good and bad.
My conversation with him—
How much your parents were aware of Fine Arts?
Nothing. No idea at all. My mother used to do some craft works like decorating the gods and goddesses frames and pictures, using the buttons like objects. As far as my father is concerned artists are those who used to paint sign boards, whom he saw beside the shop where he was working. When I was studying Fine Arts he was looking forward when I would start my earnings by writing the sign boards! My parents were ignorant of this discipline.
What kind of paintings you did in your childhood?
I used to copy gods and goddesses figures. There was one local artist Mr.V.G.Andani. He started teaching art in a local art school, Ideal Fine Arts School established by his teacher Mr.Khanderao, who studied in J.J.School Mumbai. I joined that art school after completing my SSLC.
Have your parents permitted you to join the Fine Arts course?
My father did not agree. He insisted that art does not get an employment and wanted me to join other course. I joined Commerce but continued to go to Andani’ school for learning painting. I like the method of learning at that school. There was no difference of classrooms. Whether one is in first year or in final year, every one sits together to practice the painting.
Have you completed your Diploma there?
No. Mr. Andani wanted me to study in J.J.School of Art Mumbai. But I needed Domicile certificate to join J.J Fine Arts in those days. I joined Latur Fine arts school for one year and obtained the certificate. But I cannot afford to go to Mumbai for studying at J.J School of Fine Arts. Karnataka Lalit Kala Akademy was granting scholarships for students who would study further in distant colleges. My friend applied on my behalf. When I attended the interview I was pleasantly surprised to meet two senior artists K.K.Hebber and S.G.Vasudev. Hebber appreciated my drawing and painting and advised me to get admission in Baroda Fine Arts faculty. Till then I never heard about this college. It was his encouragement I came to join painting course in Baroda Fine Arts faculty.
Did you find any difference in learning at Gulbarga and Baroda?
Keep aside the learning of art, I had a cultural shock when I came to Baroda. I came from a small place. Everyone was speaking English in Baroda. It was a surprise further to see painting, sculpture, commercial arts, print making, pottery, so much of detailed learning in fine arts here. I only know ‘one room learning’ art school.
Earlier there were many beliefs in our minds that every part of the body and composition should be complete, drawing should look like real, sketching is only for practice, drawing is different and it cannot be a form of art expression. After coming to Baroda many such myths were broken, of course I observed Laxma Gaud creating wonderful drawings, even before I came to Baroda. I joined Baroda in 1979. After couple of years when Gulam Mohd.Sheikh joined teaching, narrative style of painting became popular amongst the students. I too was painting my surroundings as a story narration. I used to think earlier that if we copy the paintings of famous artists like Hussain, we too would become popular. But after coming to Baroda I understood that one has to create one’ own style and expression.
Could you make friends with students here?
Only with those who came from similar backgrounds. To add up to the situation, we did not get the hostel room for the first 6 months. That too happened for a good I feel today. Till late nights we used to sketch and draw sitting in the railway station, come and sleep beside the college watchman when we were tired in the nights.
You studied under the tutelage of internationally known teachers in Baroda…
Yes. But I know all these artists names earlier also. Our teacher, Andani used to show us the images of these artists works and used tell us about them as part of Art History he taught us. Once we exhibited a group show in Hyderabad under his guidance. I saw Sri.Laxma Goud there for the first time. His drawing and print making method inspires me even today. He encouraged us a lot.
What were the later changes in your style?
I was stirred by communal struggles, natural calamities and social situations. I am preoccupied always ‘how to represent those issues in an artistic language.
When did you join Baroda Print Making Dept.?
I studied Diploma in Painting Dept. from 1979 to 84. That time it was 2 years foundation course before proceeding to specialization. Then I studied Post Diploma from 84 to 86 in Print Making Dept. Immediately I joined teaching at CAVA fine arts college for teaching. I wanted to be near to my home, I am the eldest son of my parents. After 6 years of teaching I came to Baroda and joined teaching in Print Making Dept.
Have you created black and white art works alone all through?
When I was doing painting I worked in colors. One cannot use many colors in print making. But that has resulted into a good exploration for me. For an artist black is also a colour. I enjoy expressing many feelings and expressions in black and white including joyous moments and happiness.
Who were the teachers who influenced you?
There are many. K.G.Subramanyan, Jyoti Bhatt, Vinod Shah, Ramesh Pandya, Dhumal, Nasreen, Andani like that many teachers helped in different directions.
What is your message for the younger generation of artists and students of Baroda Fine Arts faculty as a Dean of this faculty?
Never lose confidence in yourself at any point. Believe in yourself that would find a way for you. Never run behind name, fame and money. Otherwise we cannot enjoy the success and failure of life in an equal pan and we become greedy of uncertainty.
[This is a translation of the interview article published in Sopathi, Sunday magazine of Navatelangana Telugu news paper on 9th September 2018.]