Amar from Afar at Headbones Gallery


Lumby’s Amar Lakhpatwala opens his exhibition of paintings in Afar Per Se at Headbones Gallery Nov. 11.

Lumby artist Amar Lakhpatwala has more than captured the interest of internationally acclaimed artist and gallery owner Julie Oakes.

An introduction made earlier this year through connections at Armstrong’s Caravan Farm and Asparagus theatres has evolved into an exhibition, under the moniker Amar from Afar, at Oakes’ own Headbones Gallery in Vernon.

Lakhpatwala’s paintings are nostalgic; created in a classical Leonardo da Vinci technique called glazing. It’s where one image is pursued with another with a similar kind of bent –– not elevating one or the other.

Lakhpatwala describes his creative perspective to that of travelling in a helicopter. The charming 58-year-old man with four-day stubble has a unique way of thinking, which he says has worked both for and against him. His hands move around like a divining rod, searching for the connection so he can convert his thoughts into layman’s words. He’s talented and precocious and wants to create things he can’t afford.

With 19 years of formal university education and 15 years of practising his imagery technique, Lakhpatwala says he is finally comfortable enough to come out of his shell and allow the world to visualize his work.

“There was nothing normal about my upbringing,” he said, describing how he was shuffled from one boarding school in India to another. “My parents were athletes. My father was a Godhead and exposed me to the dogmas and gurus and extreme philosophical thoughts.”

Lakhpatwala smiles softly when he speaks of his mother who was a big influence and a creative soul herself. She wrote poetry, carved it into leather, and sent it to him while he was in school.

He readily admits to being a difficult child.

“My aunt Devi (Thakkar) was a huge influence and was the only person who could take me to task. Summers home from boarding school, she lovingly cared for me, adopted me, and in 1966, during the crazy hippy days, brought me with her to Canada.”

Lakhpatwala lives in the upper level of a downtown Lumby log home. Paint cans, brushes and stained rags remain next to paintings resting comfortably on easels and walls throughout the space.

In many of his paintings, a self image or silhouette of himself joins in as part of the background.

“It’s not to make a statement and not the focal point,” he said. “By joining in this particular manner is an extension of trying to know myself, which is very difficult and I think it comes out in my painting.”

Understanding who we are is not easy but  Lakhpatwala has captured his true spiritual essence in this description: “Canvas has been the only source which has never questioned me like people; has never threatened me, never corrected me, never restricted me, never demanded anything from me. It was just a blank piece where I am free to play and present myself and feel good about not feeling guilty of portraying whatever I feel.”

Entitled Afar Per Se, the exhibition at Headbones, located at 6700 Old Kamloops Rd., also features the paintings of artist Diane Feught, whose Anglican upbringing and seven years spent in a Buddhist priory in Edmonton have influenced her work.

The show runs to Dec. 31.

–– This piece was written by Lumby freelance writer and photographer Greta Helin

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