Dynasties are rare and slow to evolve, requiring a mixture of talent, huge determination, familial strength and a good deal of luck. The Pandit family is evolving into such a dynasty. Presently they comprise a group of very talented and dedicated potters of great promise, of whom India will certainly be proud of.
In 2004 Abhay Pandit applied to the British Council for support, to study with me at my studio in England. He came to England in the following summer and stayed at my home for three months, studying and working on his artistic and skills development. Since then I have visited the Pandits every year, and my friendship with the whole family has grown. Through this friendship, I have developed a deeper understanding and appreciation of their inspirational work.
From the early days, when Panditji and his wife set out on their journey together, and set their potter’s wheel into motion, their talents and determination carried them through both, good times and bad times, phases that all artist-craftsmen experience. Their two sons grew up immersed in the hustle and bustle of a busy pottery, artistically moulding bonsai pots, tiles and one-off works. Such an upbringing can, and often does, deter offspring from following in their parents’ footsteps, but Abhay and Shailesh had no such doubts and have embraced the world of ceramics with similar enthusiasm, as that of their parents, Devki and Bramhdeo Ram. In the case of the second generation of Pandits, the development of art pots is a particularly strong and focussed ambition.
Khushboo Pandit came into this potter’s clan as Abhay’s wife, and has been encouraged to develop her very visible artistic talents during the past few years. Her own aspirations and drive are helping to create a strong family unit that is moving forward, while India claims her rightful place, as a powerhouse of creativity and industry, on the world stage.
Each individual within this dynasty has his/her own style, but it is also evident that there is a link in ideas and creativity between each of the members of this unique family. This is very important because, though the ceramic pieces are individual and are reflections of the person who made them, there is an underlying stability of skill and experience lent by the other family members as well.
Pots come in many guises, from very simple forms, with plain glazes and surfaces, to complex ones, with intricate textures, patterns and colours. No one combination is right or wrong - a striking balance between the elements will become apparent if one takes time to examine the work quietly and dispassionately. The Pandit family’s work reveals that unity of elements, which are required to make great pots. A pot which isn’t meant for domestic use should be an object which, on first sight excites, on closer inspection delights, and with long association, perhaps being seen every day in the home, gives enduring pleasure. This is an exhibition of such masterpieces.
This exhibition marks another milestone in the continuing journey of the artist to achieve perfection. Of course, all artists strive, each time they create a piece of work, to make it their best and, although they may be extremely happy with the results, they slowly realise that from this high plateau they can scale greater heights. This is always the dilemma of the artist – the best work is always that which will be made tomorrow and this is surely how it should be.
This exhibition captures the best of the best at this point in time and I hope it is greatly appreciated by all who see it. Undoubtedly, it justifies the Pandit family’s honourable standing in the higher echelons of Indian ceramic art.
Multi-faceted author and artist. Works with ceramic, bronze and stone. Has exhibited internationally and his works are in numerous public collections and illustrated in many publications all over the world.