Shanti Panchal was born in northern Gujarat in the mid-to-late 1950s (his exact date of birth is unknown) and attended the Sir JJ School of Art in Mumbai. He first came to London in 1978, the recipient of a British Council Scholarship and is now permanently based in London. In 1994, Panchal was artist-in-residence at the British Museum and then at the Harris Museum in Preston, and completed another residency in 2000 at the Wisor and Newton Art Factory, based in London. Panchal has been the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the 1991 BP Portrait Award, the 2000 Year of the Artists Award, London arts and the First Prize in 2001 for The Singer & Friedlander/Sunday Times watercolour competition. His work is held in various public collections including the British Museum, the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and the Imperial War Museum, and has had significant retrospectives in Mumbai, London and elsewhere in the United Kingdom including the Chelmsford Museum 2006-07.
Panchal's large-scale, fresco-like watercolours of subtle vibrancy are at once movingly archaic and challengingly contemporary. His spaciously abstracted works are partly inspired by Indian minaturist painting and Buddhist and Jain frescoes, but also by the visionary figuration of El Greco, Marth Rothko's immense field of colour and the haunting backdrops of Francis Bacon.
Watch an interview with Shanti Panchal by Richard Cork below: