Dinanath Pathy , iconic Odisha painter and art historian who promoted Odia art all over the world and worked closely with Rietberg Society in Switzerland passed away yesterday.
Eminent artist, writer and art historian Dinanath Pathy passed away in Bhubaneshwar in Odisha, an eastern state in India, at the age of 74. Known for his lifelong dedication towards preserving and promoting the rich artistic heritage of his native region, Pathy worked as an artist, poet, writer and teacher in the course of his life. He was a prominent part of the Contemporary Art Movement in Odisha (a state that was previously spelt as Orissa) that is said to have taken place through 1962-2003.
Born in 1942 in the Southern part of Odisha, Dinanath grew up in an artistic family and begun his career by painting for theatre curtains and working as a make-up artist. He completed a doctorate in both history and art history and has been credited with establishing the first art college “Chitram” at Bhubaneswar in Odisha. Throughout his life he worked as a teacher and also a principal.
As an artist, the forms, colours and motifs in his work essentially centred around the native arts of Odisha as well as its language, which found place in his illustrations, sketches and paintings.
Spiritual themes and images of the Jagannath, an avatar of one of the prominent gods of Hinduism, Vishnu, were present throughout his work. Pattachitra, a traditional Odiya style of representing myths and epics through colourful vivid images, was an influence for Pathy.
His love for writing is also reflected in the work he left behind, with around 60 books authored by him, in Odiya, English and German languages.
A well travelled individual, Pathy visited galleries, museums, institutions and historical sites around the world. Lecturing on invitation by Museum Rietberg, in Switzerland, visiting Britain as a fellow of British Council , China through of Chinese Artists’ Association, in Japan on a short term fellowship awarded by Japan Foundation, Pathy also worked in Egypt, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore as an art visualiser, commissioner, curator or designer.
Projects aimed to document the art and artists of his nativethe state became centre stage for Pathy who was recognised for his contributions through numerous awards such as the President of India’s Silver Plaque for painting, Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship for his research work and the Orissa Sahitya Akademi Award for creative literature for his autobiography, Drawing Master of Digapahandi.
Swiss honour for Odiya man
Pathy received Rietberg Award of Switzerland-based Rietberg Society in 2014, a prestigious international award. This was in recognition of his contributions to the research on Indian art history and his lifelong dedication to the field of art.
The artist worked on books in collaboration with the Rietberg Museum, such as Rietberg Serie no. 5, Zurich, 1982; Murals for Goddesses and Gods: The Tradition of Osakothi Ritual Paintings in Orissa, India.