1914 - 1990

Shiavax Chavda

Shiavax Chavda was born in Navsari, Gujarat, in 1914 and studied at Sir J. J. School of Art, Bombay, from 1930-35. Upon graduation, he went to London to study at Slade School of Art (1935-38), under Prof. Randolph Schwabe. Meanwhile, he also studied part-time at St. Martin’s School of Art, London (1936-39), and at Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris, in 1937. In Paris, he worked alongside Picasso and Russian painter Leon Bakst in designing the sets for the renowned Ballets Russes of Sergei Diaghilev.

Throughout his career, Chavda continued to remain associated with dance, which gave him an exceptional grasp of the skill to capture movement in his works; in fact, he came to be known as the painter of movement. He painted men and women in dance across countries and cultures, a fascination born out of his extensive travels across the country and in Southeast Asia, capturing the beauty of movement as also the joy that dancing exhibited. He made portraits of Indian musicians and classical dancers, and worked on the costumes and set designs of the 1966 Hindi film, Amrapali.

Other subjects that Chavda painted included human figures, birds and animals, ancient temples, Balinese masks, as also semi-abstract and abstract art. He was a prolific book illustrator, creating art for books on dance and music, for children’s stories and magazines. Chavda passed away on 18 August 1990 in Bombay.