#ShortMemoir | Haku Shah

5 mins read

#ShortMemoir | Haku Shah
June 15, 2022 Chaitya Shah

Shri Haku Shah

Chaitya Dhanvi Shah in the studio of Padma Shri Haku Shah

One of my first artist’s studio visits. I was barely 17 and to be in a legendary artist’s studio was a big thing. Fortunately, my passion was to seek art and not commerce. My excitement was to learn from the master, and not acquire his art. I was almost a clean slate and that curiosity to learn art, from the master itself was motivating. It added to the learning process.

(L to R) Bansilal Dalal, Mahendra Pandya, Vilu & Haku Shah

Having said that, all of this wouldn’t have been possible if he would have allowed me to watch him paint, handle the brushes, and manage his colour tubes. He would paint and side by side guide me on how to read art. He would talk about his teachers, Indian and European masters, and why he used blue and yellow together. He gradually trained me to be a gallerist who not only had limited knowledge of buying and selling but who understood art, and who was well aware of the technical aspects of art.

Haku Shah with Dhanvi Shah & Chaitya Dhanvi Shah, DRS Arts Company

Signing Serigraph

Whenever we had exhibitions at the gallery, I would be assigned to pick and drop him off from his home in Paldi, Amadavad. Being a Gandhian, he was extremely punctual. While sitting in the passenger seat, he would enquire on my reading habits. He would ask me questions just like a viva session, which would at the time make me uncomfortable. As a mentor would do, he would listen to it carefully and would advise me to read a certain artist or style to sharpen my understanding.

Signing Etching

Even during our family dinners, he would share his stories that would help me prepare for the commercial art world. All these years, he trained me unconditionally. It was because of artists like Haku sir I didn’t find any need to learn the basics of art, the isms, or techniques in an art school. I was fortunate to have him in the very early days of my career. Always thankful to him for shaping me.

Limited Edition Serigraph

Original Artwork | Haku Shah

Photos and Text © Chaitya Dhanvi Shah