"Sexual identity of everyone should be accepted and respected by society."
The prestigious Indian Art Week returns to London for 2015.
A stage in which to applaud and appreciate the incredible art and talents of the Indian subcontinent, whilst also extending a hand to blossoming artists who possess an original flair.
One such blossoming talent is Prashant Jha, a final year student at the International Institute of Fine Arts (IIFA) in India.
Prashant who has shown a keen knack for creativity from a very early age has been awarded a full year of professional development in London.
In addition, Jha will see his debut exhibition, entitled ‘Sexual Identity’ unveiled at Debut Contemporary as part of Indian Art Week’s opening day.
Congratulations on your debut exhibition. Are you looking forward to your work being unveiled at Indian Art Week?
“I am delighted; I will have been extremely happy to personally showcase my works and also the works of other students of IIFA at Indian Art Week.
“I regret that the non-issuance of my Visa in time has forced me to remain in India.”
Can you tell us a little about your background? When did you realise you wanted to be an artist?
“I am from a very poor family. My father lives his life with polio–affected legs. But he is a very good artist. He brought up the family [by giving] art classes to schoolchildren.
“I was inspired by his works and decided that I wanted to be an artist when I entered the 9th Standard in my school.”
Who were your favourite artists growing up?
“While growing up, I was trained by my father to only view the works of famous artists but never to copy their concept or techniques. I was, and still am attracted to social life around me.
“Some of the artists who impressed me then were Bhupen Kakkar, S.H. Raza, Jatin Das, Tyeb Mehta and Van Gogh.”
Tell us about your debut exhibition, ‘Sexual Identity’. Are there any key themes or underlying messages that you hope people will resonate with?
“I have tried to convey that ‘sexual identity’ of everyone should be accepted and respected by society.
“The marriage of two minds in agreement and union of their bodies has existed for ages, but some unions are denied acceptance. Let us all accept.”
Do you feel taboo perceptions around sex are now changing in India? Are people more open to talking about the positive aspects of sex?
“Yes! Albeit very slowly. Now openness is creeping into the dialogues of the young and middle aged.
“It is reluctantly tolerated by the elders in society who are vehemently against mentions of anything related to sex.”
Are there any Western artists and painters who inspire you in your own work?
“Yes! I am impressed by the works of Egon Schiele, Monet, Manet, and Paul Klimt to name some.”
Do you have a favourite medium or materials which you use for your art?
“Though I like to work with mixed media, presently I am favouring Oil pastels and Charcoal mix on Canvas.”
What is next for Prashant Jha?
“I hope I am well received at Indian Art Week and hope that next year  I make it to London to exhibit my works in person.
“I wish Arts for India, Debut Contemporary and all concerned with the Organisation of the event, ‘A grand success and Thank you!’”
Prashant’s paintings are full of expression, vibrancy and boldness.
Representing the new generation of Indian artist, Prashant talks in a new language that breaks down the traditional boundaries set by contemporary Indian society.
As he looks forward to his sponsored year in London, Jha will be taken under the wing of Debut Contemporary founder and CEO, Samir Ceric.
Ceric will mentor the young talent and develop his promising artistic career in London.
Prashant Jha’s solo exhibition will be unveiled at Debut Contemporary on Saturday 6th June 2015.
For more details about the event, please visit the Indian Art Week website.