Born in 1926 in Goa, Pai grew up in surroundings of surpassing beauty that fed his artistic ambitions. Following his muse, he came to the Sir J. J. School of Arts in Mumbai and from there went on to Paris, the Mecca of art to complete his education. His early years were spent in British India during the struggle for freedom in which he played an active part. These formative years shaped his attitude towards life and his work, leading to a highly individualistic and innovative style. Critical and observant, Pai translated his visual impressions into paintings that have an immediate impact. "I am my own Guru. I have taken things from others, but have made them my own," says Pai. All of Pai's art is a reflection of his impressions and it is free from any commentary. "I do not waste my time in social gatherings and gossip. I listen to others, but I do not argue. By arguing, I do not want to defend myself. My reactions are based on an indirect motivation to paint my feelings. There is no physical involvement and the expression is backed up by a tremendous mental application. My works do not preach a moral. They are spiritual impressions," explains Pai. Most of his work is based on chance encounters and experiences that have left a mark on his mind be it good or evil. His earlier paintings borrowed generously from ancient Egyptian sculptures with bodies that were portrayed front on with the faces in profile. As time went on, the figures became more rounded and well defined with a decreasing use of geometry. By the 60s, his style had evolved into forms that flowed into each other on the canvas, giving them a radiant vitality. The vibrant hues that are so characteristic of his art got bolder and brighter with each painting reminiscent of the miniatures of early Indian art. According to him, "The bold and sensational colours set my narrative into a pitch of intensity. The other things are also given colour and significance by the degree to which they reflect and dramatise the theme in tone and texture. I have used figurative drawings in a convincing manner in their folk sensibility. The brush stokes are bold and cut across the contours of the linear figures in a pivotal motion." A painter who does not like dull colours, Pai has created a body of work that is as diverse and colourful as life itself.

Works by the Artist
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