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The village is the backdrop for the works of Anand Panchal. More than many artists, Panchal embraces a highly narrative style, unfolding stories of rural life through his paintings. My perspective is of a villager, says Panchal.

A recurring figure in his paintings is of a small girl. He describes her as the daughter of a farmer, who is very eager to pursue her education, but is prevented from doing so by circumstances. He recalls growing up in a rural town, and seeing doctors and lawyers occasionally passing through: We would admire these people, but we would never know how they became what they are. Asked why he chose to paint a young girl over a boy, he explains that he finds female faces most expressive, registering a range of emotions that vanish by adolescence. The series of paintings on this theme inspired Panchal s most recent series of the durga, or protector of the girl. This figure is shown as a powerful, mystical presence watching over the girl as might a spiritual guide.

Many of Panchal s paintings are done in a long, narrow format, which he describes as mimicking the figures of the children that he is painting. In his paintings, the upper portion of the canvas is often devoted to iconic images that indicate the dreams of the foregrounded figure. In one painting, for instance, the background shows a house and a sun, indicating the opposing forces of home and nature.

Of his influences, Panchal names Rembrandt, Renoir, and Gaugin. In the future, he plans to try large-scale works of children in groups, that incorporate more elements of the village setting.

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