Toofan Rafai is an artist with a difference. He doesn't have fingers on his hand. That's not the difference. The difference is that he doesn't need them.
Daira - Centre for Art and Culture is organising an exhibition of drawings and mixed media paintings by Toofan Rafai from 20th to 28th February. A collection of 34 of Rafai's recent works is on display. All the paintings have been done with natural dyes.
The collection comprising his miniature works dating from 1969 till now is also on display. The works are self-expressive, and in one of them, there is a village woman in green kneeling down, her saree palloo strategically misplaced, and the stark background has an advertisement torn from a paper: Absolut.
The other works are a variation of this theme - it is as if the artist hasn't changed the camera angle but only the subjects and the lighting. The women are ordinary, but not going about their chores. They are all poised in states of waiting. The colors Rafai uses are much more sedate.
Toofan Rafai is an 82-year-old senior artist who was born in a community of beggars. His life, then, is a typical rags to riches story. After begging on the roadside for 19 years, Rafai managed to find a job in a factory in Ahmedabad. One day, accidentally, his hand slipped into the machine, and most of his fingers on the right hand got chopped off.
As he was admitted in a hospital, and as he was crying over his fate, one of his ward nurses got him a paper and some paints, and convinced him to paint a picture. In spite of his handicap, he painted an astonishingly stunning picture.
Realising his hidden talent, the nurse secured him admission to a diploma course in drawing & painting at Sir J J School of Art, Mumbai, and since then there has been no looking back. He went on to complete his P G in Mural Decoration under the Government of India Scholarship Program, at Mumbai. He then began research into his chosen subject – natural dyes.
He has conducted workshops on the subject in all corners of India and abroad - in Russia, and in many parts of USA. He has also held solo exhibitions of paper collages, wall-hangings and paintings in all major art centres of India and in the US. He regularly presents study papers on natural dyes in important fora.
He is the recipient of the highest award in folk art presented by the Government of Gujarat – the Mahanubhava Award. He has also been conferred upon the Lalit Kala Academy Award for paper collage and the Mumbai Art Society Award, among others.
Please contact 6661-8628/98499-87187 for further details.