The grand-nephew of the well-known sculptor V. P. Karmakar, and the son of an artist who worked at Bombay film studios, Prabhakar Barwe studied art at Sir J. J. School of Art, Bombay. His fascination with the abstract form, drawn from the style and the concepts of the Bauhaus painter Paul Klee, was reflected in his very early watercolours and slightly later works with floating motifs on a transparent surface. So, even if a painting appeared meaningless at first glance, it was, in reality, of prime importance because it allowed room for fresh possibilities,for a mind that was not enmeshed with meaning at the outset.
The tantric-oriented abstract format of his paintings was already set during his years in Varanasi at the Weaver’s Service Centre where, along with other leading painters like K. G. Subramanyan, Gautam Waghela and Ambadas, he worked closely with weavers on the development of modern Indian textile designs. Barwe rejected both the British academic tradition-dictated artistic models in Indian figurative art and the Indian miniature form to evolve a universal, abstract visual language that explored inward spaces and transient realities. His phallic forms of the Seventies, isolated heads of the 1980s, and the dead pendulum clocks and abandoned staircases of the 1990s, were always structured around central themes.Equally at ease with the written word, Barwe published in 1990 Kora Kanvas, a collection of subtle and well-thought out writings on the creative process. He received national and international awards, has been a part of exhibitions allover the world, and has been collected in India and overseas.