Madhvi Parekh
Madhvi Parekh Madhvi Parekh Madhvi Parekh Madhvi Parekh Madhvi Parekh Madhvi Parekh

Madhvi Parekh



b - 1942

Madhvi Parekh

Full of fables from Madhvi Parekh's childhood, current environment and global consciousness, her paintings are unplanned, unfolding like a story where she adapts each work to the scale it demands, developing from a point into vast narratives.

She was born and raised in Sanjaya, a village in Gujarat. Though she is self-taught and took up painting only in 1964, inspired by her artist-husband Manu Parekh, art remained a part of her consciousness through childhood memories, her family’s rituals such as the traditional floor designs of rangoli, popular folk stories, and simple village life.

While expecting their first child, Parekh’s husband gifted her a book on drawing exercises by Paul Klee, and soon she was taking the first steps towards creating her own art vocabulary.

Apart from folk motifs, legends and figures, Parekh also uses imaginary characters in figurative and abstracted orientations, revealing the use of rhythm and repetition. Often, she utilises the settings of Kalamkari and Pichwai paintings where the main character of the composition sits in the centre with the minor or secondary ones filling the borders.

In the presence of dots, lines, circles and triangles, her paintings have been compared to those of Paul Klee, and in the presence of fantastical and bulbous creatures, to those of Joan Miró. A documentary film on the Parekh couple, titled Dwity, was made by Suraj Purohit in 1992. A retrospective on the artist that was held in New Delhi and Mumbai travelled to New York as well. The artist lives and works in New Delhi.

‘Her early oil paintings remind one of children and adults as they move fearlessly in the jungle. They are not scared of the animals because the animals too move around like human beings’


artist timeline


Is born in village Sanjaya, Gujarat.


The couple move to Bombay with Manu working for Weavers’ Service Centre.


Move to Calcutta.

Begins her career as a self-taught painter with Paul Klee’s Pedagogical Sketchbook as her guide.


She is part of a group show at Birla Academy in Calcutta.


Joint Show with Manu Parekh at Chetna Art Gallery, Bombay.


Her first solo show at Chemould Art Gallery, Kolkata


The couple shift to New Delhi. Recognised with a ‘Certificate of Merit’ at the Women’s International Exhibition, Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. Has a solo exhibition at Dhoomimal Art Gallery, New Delhi. Participates in the third International Triennale India, New Delhi, organised by Lalit Kala Akademi.


Attends the first of a few art camps at Kasauli initiated by Vivan Sundaram.


Joint show of Heads at Dhoomimal Art Gallery with Manu Parekh, New Delhi.


Geeta Kapur grounds Paul Klee’s influence on Parekh’s work: ‘Starting as so many Indian artists do with the enshrined figure of Paul Klee, Madhvi virtually insinuates herself into modernism using certain characteristic features such as a centralised and synoptic motif. Even more relevant to the Klee aesthetic, she foregrounds by obsessive markings the surface itself, inscribing it, then layering it with a superscript like a pictogram and through this projection blocking any form of illusionism.’


National award from Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi.


Has a solo exhibition at Pundole Art Gallery, Bombay.


Has a solo exhibition at Al-Khaleeja, Kuwait


Forms an informal group of women artists with Nalini Malani, Arpita Singh and Nilima Sheikh. Through the Looking Glass, their joint exhibition, travels to Bhopal, New Delhi, Bombay and Bangalore and is considered one of the most significant exhibitions of contemporary Indian art


Documentary film Dwitya on Madhvi and Manu Parekh by Suraj Purohit, sponsored by Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. Has a solo exhibition at Sakshi Gallery, Madras.


Has an exhibition of thirty years of her work sponsored by Seagull and Vadehra Art Gallery in New Delhi, Bombay, and Calcutta. Opening show of Centre of International Modern Art Gallery, Calcutta, features her work.


Is a participant at IWALEWA-Haus, Bayreuth, Germany.


Is part of ‘Inside Out: Contemporary Women Artists of India’, a travelling show by Middlesborough Art Gallery, U. K. Participates in ‘Watercolour Show’, Gallery Espace, New Delhi. Is part of ‘Harmony’, Nehru Centre, Bombay.


A landmark exhibition of fifteen women artists curated by Gayatri Sinha, ‘The Self and the World’, features the four women artists who came together for Through the Looking Glass. Exhibitions at Gallery Bose Pacia Modern, New York, and Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai.


Show at Chemould Art Gallery, Mumbai.


Show at Nature Morte, New Delhi. ‘Fair and Furious: Feminine Fables’, Jebiwool Art Museum, Seoul.


Travels to Jerusalem, visits Yad Vashem, the memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. ‘The Margi & the Desi: Between Tradition and Modernity’, organised by Gallery Espace at Rabindra Bhawan, New Delhi.


Show at Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi.


On a visit to South Africa, is charmed by the performative use of masks.


Sees Leonardo da Vinci’s mural, The Last Supper, at Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.


Paints her monumental work, The Last Supper. The same year, her paintings based on the same theme are exhibited at St Thomas’s Chapel, Bishop’s College, Kolkata, sponsored by the Seagull Foundation.


‘The Last Supper’ exhibition, sponsored by the Seagull Foundation, is held at Visual Art Gallery, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.


‘Madhvi Parekh: The Curious Seeker’, DAG’s retrospective on the artist, opens in New Delhi. Kailash Lalit Kala Award, Chitrakutdham Trust. The Last Supper’ exhibition travels to a church in Goa.


‘Madhvi Parekh: The Curious Seeker’ at DAG, Mumbai.


‘Madhvi Parekh: The Curious Seeker’ at Archer Art Gallery, Ahmedabad. ‘The Last Supper’ exhibition is on view at the Gujarat Theosophical Society’s Mission Chapel. The retrospective travels to DAG, New York.


dag exhibitions

‘The Printed Picture: Four Centuries of Indian Printmaking’

DAG, New Delhi, 2012; Mumbai, 2016; alternate locations in Kolkata, 2013; Jaipur, 2017; Chandigarh, 2018

‘Manifestations VII, 20th Century Indian Art’

DAG, New Delhi, 2012

‘Indian Divine: Gods & Goddesses in 19th and 20th Century Modern Art’

DAG, New Delhi and Mumbai, 2014

‘Madhvi Parekh: The Curious Seeker’

DAG, New Delhi, 2017; Mumbai, 2018; New York, 2019

‘Primitivism and Modern Indian Art’

DAG, Mumbai, 2019; New York, 2020; New Delhi, 2021-22

‘Navrasa: The Nine Emotions of Art’

DAG, New Delhi and Mumbai, 2020-21

‘The Sixties Show’

DAG, Mumbai, 2020

‘Ways of Seeing: Women Artists | Women as Muse'

DAG, New Delhi, 2021

‘Indian Blue: From Realism to Abstraction’

DAG, New Delhi, 2021

‘Iconic Masterpieces of Indian Modern Art’

DAG, Mumbai, 2021

notable collections

National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi

Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi

Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation, Mumbai

Roopankar Museum of Fine Arts, Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal

Punjab University Museum, Chandigarh

Air India, Mumbai

Rade Museum, Hamburg

Bayreuth Museum, Bayreuth

archival media

The Economic Times

7 November 1993

The Pioneer on Sunday

23 June 1996

Business Standard

16 December 2006

The Hindu

4 December 2010

The Indian Express

4 September 2013