About the Artist

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Born,  1974, Rajgarh (Alwar) Rajasthan INDIA

Face is an identity embodied. 
Face is the window of one’s soul.

 If face is the real mirror of his heart, there could be no doubt that anyone could make out what is going on in his mind, say the poets. There are people who hide their emotions, thought process and intensely felt feelings. They could be strategists, diplomats or at their worst hypocrites. But faces often don’t cheat. Philosophically and theoretically speaking, face is the border line between the public and the private. A person becomes an individual with a distinct identity only when he/she is named and tamed. A nameless person is a wild person.  Faces, therefore anticipate a name, a story and a tangible individual. 

How do we understand and locate the identities of the urban people who often aspire to look like the successful models in their lives? What happens when a city is filled with people who have similar looking faces? What happens when an urban space is infested with people who think that their distinction is their identity while in fact they do not have any to make a claim on? These are the questions that Deepak Khandelwal raises in his beautiful, eye-catching, pleasing and decorative works. These qualifications that I give to Deepak’s works are not to condescend but to ululate the covert artistic strategy that he has taken to ideate and debate a vital issue that we confront in our contemporary times; a crisis in identity. Charlie Chaplin, while debating the industrial modernism through his celluloid interpretation of the same in ‘Modern Times’ depicts one of the greatest montages in the history of films. At the opening shot of the movie, a herd of sheep moves thickly within a space, which slowly transforms into a set of bowler hats that people wear to work in factories and the scene is further juxtaposed with that of a huge clock that shows the factory time.

We have crossed and reaped the benefits of industrial modernism. So have we got the side and ill effects of the same? Today we experience a different modernism; the information technology modernism. Our work spaces have become highly sophisticated and the internet space offers stardom to each and every person who uses it. In that sense, we have all the reasons to believe that we have gained independence as individuals and we have got our distinct identities. However, in reality, the urban spaces are the places where one tend to lose the identity and become one amongst the herd or the famous montage scene of bowler hats. We become another person in the city who listens to the FM channels via headphones, or any person who looks like a silhouette in the larger canvas of the city. Interestingly, the urban spaces are where distinction of identity is played up through advertisements and shop windows; these are the places where they assure distinct identity and individuality. 

However, identity is in crisis. It is not about the identity crisis that the human beings used to feel during the industrial modernism. He was more pre-occupied with the alienating effects of the products that they used to produce and consume. Today, the human being is more acclimatized within the general firmament of mass production and things of its ilk. He has overcome the identity crisis. Still the identity is in crisis. If the question of self definition and demarcation of social role and position causes identity crisis, identity in crisis is caused by the collapse of all systems that support the proliferation and prolongation of identity as a sustainable resource for self growth and maintenance of self esteem. Each moment, a human being in an urban space is asked to change according to the new environment of desire. With a strong identity in place, as affirmed by the social networking sites etc, the individual feels oppressed as he is caught in a ceaseless whirlwind of demands and desires. This causes an imaginary collapse of the systems of belief around. He/she is forced to change the faces as per the demands of the society. He understands the crisis that happens to the very notion of identity. 

Deepak Khandelwal while painting the faces brings this vital issue into focus. He posits a person within the identity discourse as a face, which is discernable from a distance but turns into abstract forms from proximity. This is exactly what happens in the urban locations and situations. A person looks desirable and complete with a distinct identity from a distance may look absolutely stereotypical and confused when seen from close quarters. It is not just about a feeling of physical approximation of the possible disillusionment caused by familiarity but it is a philosophical state of people who are seen effective and authentic from a distance transforms when confronted closely. The new realities experienced within the social networking sites affirm this observation. The abstraction that Deepak deliberately attributes to his images and figures is triggered by the ideological stance that the artist takes when he negotiates the very idea of identity in crisis or identity as a crisis.

Interestingly, the people that we see in Deepak’s works are depersonalized presences of alluring faces. One looks for familiarity while experiencing a sort of generic nature in all of them. They are like glass facades of the high rise buildings and corporate offices and shopping malls. They impart a sort of transparency and transfuse a kind of intimacy with the people who are outside these establishments. The idea of familiarity, invitation and transparency are highly mutated by the reflections of the onlookers on the glass facades. Here juxtaposition of two faces happens simultaneously. On the one hand, the face of the establishment embodied in the glass facade engulfs the face of the individual who stands outside and merges it with the products or people who are inside it, causing the confusion of a narcissistic self and the objects of contemplation/desire. 

This confusion, in fact generated by the mutual transference of faces in the hope of finding the truth inside, is what goads Deepak to make the faces in his paintings beautiful and mysteriously layered at the same time. Corporate economic establishments give out the feeling that they are open to the public in a democratic way. But the truth is that they give only the illusion of transparency. Slowly the people who work in the urban situations and move around in the urban locations become victims of this transparency, almost losing their identity and faces in the forced juxtapositions with the products that encapsulate the economic as well as politico-cultural agenda of the very same establishments. This is the cause of crisis in identity. Once caught in this maze of self deception than self reflection, people become transparent faces. And that is what exactly happening in the works of Deepak.

The faces in Deepak’s paintings become glass facades causing a forced metamorphosis of the people into establishments that depersonalize everything through the illusion of proximity and familiarity. People in the urban spaces look familiar but similar in the way the economic establishments are in the same locations. They reflect others on their faces. The same depersonalization of the selves happens in the corridors of urban malls is replicated in the faces painted by Deepak in his new series of paintings. Instead of reflecting the faces of other people, Deepak cleverly juxtaposes these faces with various stereotypical samples culled out from the urban high life. For example an onlooker could see dancing couples in dapper suites, swimmers and bathers at pool side, loving couple moving around, fashionable girls on runways, jaywalking people in the streets and so on. What happens here is the human being on whose face these images are painted on becomes a hoarding all by him/herself. He becomes a billboard where other desirable models of urban life are depicted in their most alluring forms. The faces, instead of becoming the heralding zones of identity turn themselves into crisis zones where identity is changed at each passing moment as if they were on a digital hoarding in the Times Square or Piccadilly.

However, one cannot forget the fact that Deepak is a great face reader; rather a reader of faces in his own fashion. He likes people and likes watching people and the innumerable expressions that come to their faces in various social, familial and intimate occasions. 

These emotions are translated and celebrated in his paintings. The love for face is not just limited to his love for ‘beauty’

As he believes in the dictum that the beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, he likes to see various faces with various hagiographic qualities. They need not necessarily be the ideal beauties. According to the artist he is a ‘lover’ of faces that reflect the beauty of mind. Even in the people he comes across in his walks in the city streets and the village alleys, provide him with subjects as they are most of unguarded while wandering in the streets. They express their own selves through a sort of abandonment. And Deepak does not want to keep his elation under check when he really feels happy about the people whose faces show a variety of worlds contained in the ‘limited’ physiognomic details. While he is aware of the crisis of identity, he does not forget to celebrate the identities evolved, whether they are natural or affected, and expressed through the faces of the people.

The highly ornamented, decorated and sophisticated backgrounds that Deepak creates as the backdrop for these faces are very important in the discussion of his works. The winding arabesque patterns in a way reflect the autobiographical connection of the artist with his historical city, Jaipur. Once the autobiographical reference is transcended, we could see that these patterns and embellishments in fact resonate with the urban tapestry of life, where everything is seen in order even within the overwhelming chaos. Deepak removes the chaos of urban spaces and isolates the faces as if they were icons of our times. The cross reference is interesting as the artist himself wants to forward a critique on the conversion of faces into digital hoardings where advertisements are flashed, inadvertently resorts to the same strategy to embellish his paintings. Deepak's works represent a time, and a time where identity is gained, lost and researched as everyone knows that it is not the identity crisis rules the minds of the people today but the crisis in the very formation of a singular/unique identity.

New Delhi




2010                  PGCHE from Nottingham Trent University, London U.K.

1999                  M.F.A. in Printmaking from M.S. University, Baroda.

1996                  B.F.A. in Painting from Rajasthan School Arts, Jaipur.




2000, 2002, 09        State Award for Print/Painting by Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy, Jaipur.

1998,2000,02          Award by Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi in VI, VIII & X Kala Mela at Jaipur.

1998                          Merit Certificate in 7th All India Exhibition of Art (Avantika Group), New Delhi.

1994                          First State Yuva Kalakar Prartiyogita by Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur.




2000                       Grant of Scholarship for Printmaking by Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi.

1998-2000             National Scholarship for Printmaking by Ministry of HRD. Govt. of India, New Delhi.

1995-1999             Merit Scholarship for Painting/Printmaking by Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy, Jaipur.




2012                  Solo Show at Gallery Artchill, Amber Palace , Jaipur.

2012                  Solo Show at Juneja Art Gallery, Jaipur.

2012                  Solo Show at Art Corridor , Le Meridien Jaipur.

2012                  Group Show at Trident BKC, Mumbai organized by Artchill Beltree Art Gallery, Mumbai

2012                  “Art Fair” Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy, Jaipur.

2012                  “The Dramatics of Diverse interpretations/perspective” Art konsult gallery, New Delhi.

2011                  Group Show at New Terminus, Jaipur Airport, organized by gallery Artchill, Jaipur.

2011                  Auction organized by Art Bull Auction House, New Delhi.

2011                  Group Show of All India artists at Hotel Le Meridien, by Gallery Artchill Jaipur.

2011                 “Samanvaya” Alliance Francaise, Romain Rolland, New Delhi. 

2011                 “Wing” Jawahar Kala Kendra , Jaipur.

2011                 “Shubraanbha” D’ Indian Canvas art gallery, Jaipur. 

2010                 Two Man Show  “Right Arrow”  sponsored by Juneja Art Gallery, Jaipur.

2010                 “Open Space” Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur.

2009                 “Samanvaya” All India Fine Arts & Craft Society (AIFACS), New Delhi .

2009                 Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur.

2008                 “Samanvaya” Visual Art gallery, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. 

2005                 Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai.

2005                 ‘CORRESPONDING LATITUDES’ an Indo-Australian Painters Art Exhibition at Kick Art Center, Queensland, Australia.

2005                 Nailla Art Gallery, Jaipur.

2004                 Ta Blu Art Gallery, Hotel Clarks Amer, Jaipur.

2004                 Samanvai Art Gallery, Jaipur.

2003                “Quadruple Expression” U.S. Embassy, New Delhi.

2003                 Jazz Art Gallery, Jaipur.

2002                 Surekh Art Gallery, Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur.

2002                 Art Junction, Hotel Inter Continental, New Delhi.

2001                 Welcome Art Gallery, at Hotel Rajputana Palace Sheraton, Jaipur.

2000-01          ‘WE-13 Printmakers’ (Travelling Print Show) at Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur, College of Art Chandigarh, Ravi Shankar Kala Bhawan Art Gallery, Ahmedabad & Ravindra  Bhawan, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi.

2000-01             ‘Graphic Expression’ (Travelling Print Show) at Cymroza Art Gallery, Mumbai, C.P. ArtCenter Chennai, Art Today Gallery, New Delhi & Kolkatta.

2000                ‘Print Show’ at Akar- Prakar Art Gallery, Jaipur.

2000                 Ravindra Bhawan Art Gallery, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi.

1999                ‘LET-SEE’ Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University Baroda.

1995-2003     ‘Kala Mela’ at Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur Organized by Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy, Jaipur.

1995                 Parijat-II Art Gallery, Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur.

1995                 Information Center, Govt. of Rajasthan, Alwar




2012                Painters Camp at Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy, Jaipur. 

2012                Painters Camp at Hotel Moomal Jaisalmer organized by Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur.

2012                National Printmakers Camp at Rashtriya Lalit Kala Kendra (Regional Centre), Lucknow. 

2011                National Painters Camp at Kalaneri Art Gallery, Jaipur.

2009                National Artist Camp at Shilpgram, Udaipur by ‘TAKHMAN-28’

2009                National Artists Camp in Kochi by Kerala Lalit Kala Academi, Ernakulam, Kerala. 

2007                Artist Camp organized by Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy, Jaipur.  

2004                Printmakers Camp at Rashtriya Lalit Kala Kendra (Regional Centre), Lucknow.

2003                Printmakers Camp at Rajasthan School of Art, Jaipur.

2002                All India Printmakers Camp organized by ‘AFFA’ at Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur.

2001                All India Painters Camp organized by AIFACS, New Delhi.

2000                All India Printmakers Workshop at ‘TAKHMAN-28’ Udaipur, organized by Rashtriya Lalit Kala Kendra, Lucknow.

1998                Multi Media Workshop at Kala Mela, Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur.      

1998                International Printmakers Workshop at Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda.

1997                ‘Painters Kala Chetna Shivir’ at Information Center, Alwar.

1995-2000,03  Conducted Water Colour, Clay Modeling and Graphics Workshop for Children at    Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur. 




2012                All India Art Exhibition at AIFACS, New Delhi. 

2011                9th Bharat Bhawan International Biennial of Print-Art, Bhopal.

2011               14th International Triennial of small Graphic Forms at Lodz, Poland.

2011                National Exhibition of Art at SCZCC, Nagpur, India..

2011               “Wing” Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur. 

2002                Visualizing Coordinator in ‘Jaipur Heritage Utsav’ organized by INTECH, Jaipur.

2001                International Annual Print Exhibition organized by ‘EX-LUBRIS’ Canada.

2001                All India Drawing Exhibition organized by Punjab Lalit Kala Academy, Chandigarh.

2000-2001    ‘Contemporary Art of Rajasthan’ (Travelling Exhibition) at Bharat Bhawan, Bhopal,Lalit Kala Academy, Lucknow, Mahatma Gandhi art Gallery, Allahabad, Kota, Goa, Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur organized by Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy, Jaipur.

2000-2001     National Exhibition of Art, organized by Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi.

2000                All India Millennium Art Exhibition (State Level) organized by AIFACS, New Delhi.

2000               ‘REALISM’ the Easel Art Gallery, Chennai.

1999                2000, Meter Long Canvas (painting) at Kankariya Lake, Ahmadabad. 

1999               ‘RENDEZVOUS’ All India Art Exhibition at Chandigarh.

1999                All India Art Exhibition by Indian Academy of Fine Art, Amritsar.

1999                All India Art Exhibition by AIFACS, New Delhi.

1999                All India Art Exhibition by S.C.Z.C.C. Nagpur. 

1998                Annual Art Exhibition by Gujarat Lalit Kala Academy Ahmadabad.

1998                All India Drawings Exhibition by Lalit Kala Academy, Jaipur.

1998                All India Prints Exhibition at Tasmiya Art House, Gulbarga.

1996-2002      Annual State Art Exhibition by Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy, Jaipur.



His works are in permanent collections of numerous Private Art Galleries , Govt. Collections & Private collections in India and Abroad .