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Paul Gent

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Moving to an area where there is a large population of Gujarati people has been a big influence on me i.e. Tasting the food, seeing the colourful dresses of the women dancing at the Navratri celebration at the town hall and Shree Ram Krishna centre and also hearing so many stories of a country that many British Gujarati have never seen. Visiting India was a big eye opener the immediate chaos of life as soon as I left Bombay Airport quickly prepared me for the rest of my stay and also provided an extreme contrast to the peace and tranquillity of the tribal areas where I spent my first week and was sad to leave.

Before going to India, I was much more interested in painting landscape, but because of the strange and otherworldly appearance of many people I met but moreover the strength of the many local activists and community leaders pulling 100% of their spirits into making their under privileged neighbours lives better. Great men such as Ashok Choudhry, Fulchandbhai, Sarjan and Mumbhai... worked to help provide better living for street children , Dholit communities impoverished Muslim women, tribal communities, street children etc.

It's not surprising that I decided to paint figurative. Glimpse of distant or passing people provided as much inspiration as people I stayed and talked with. With some paintings and drawings I wanted to capture the wholeness of someone, perhaps posing in their most personal and identifiable posture.

Visiting Gujarat has given me a huge boost of inspiration in my work, and my paintings related to it have been the most popular that I have done with a wide range of community

I prefer the drawings and paintings that I do on location. I am able to forget my own interpretation and visually record what I see where as my studio paintings unconsciously show a romanticised and poetical viewpoint and as Kevin Ryan pointed out a 'western' viewpoint.

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