An avid printmaker, prolific painter, dedicated educator and an eminent photographer -veteran artist Jyoti Bhatt is all of these and more. Born in 1934 in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, Jyoti da studied painting and printmaking at M. S. University, Baroda under the tutelage of master educators and artists N.S. Bendre, Shankho Chaudhuri and K.G. Subramanyan. His deepest urge was always to learn more, experiment and perfect, for which, he received a scholarship to study at the Accademia Di Belle Arti, Naples, Italy by the Italian Government in 1961-1962; later in 1964–66 he went on to learn printmaking while specializing in Graphics at the Pratt Institute and Pratt Graphic Art Center, New York under Fulbright & John D Rockefeller II Grants. In the sixties, Jyoti da joined a collective - Group 1890, as founder member along with masters like Jeram Patel, Himmat Shah and other contemporaries in Baroda. He experimented with various media like watercolour, poster colour and oil painting but found the techniques of printmaking most suitable for his artistic endeavours.
Bhatt’s work was radically transformed after he was asked to document Gujrati folk art in 1967 by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Mumbai, a project that continued till 1995 and established him as a visual historian, archivist and documentarian of living traditions of Indian art and crafts.
He went on to photograph rural arts and indegenous practices of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Orissa, West Bengal and Bihar. Discussing his experience as a photographer with the art critic Uma Nair he said - “During my years in photography I found that villages were simple yet so full of their own elemental ideas. Life in the village had its own tranquil pace and their creative pursuits is what engaged me all through. The simplicity of detail entered my work.” He said further in an interview with her - “Printmaking for me became a process of rich imagery and a residue of living traditions. I recall in Rajasthan the intricate floral patterns of a rangoli in the courtyard of the house in a remote village or a mandala painstakingly created by another woman in the house square were important statements of a rural lifestyle that we cannot see anymore.” His Intaglio and Serigraphs print showcase extensive influence of indegious art and now even in his late eighties, he continues to create magnificent forms by amalgamating vernacular texts and rural motifs.
Currently living and working in Baroda, Jyoti Bhatt is a recipient of many prestigious national and international awards. His works also find place in some of the most renowned collections like MOMA, New York, Pratt Graphic Art Centre, New York, Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC, Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Dusseldorf Art Museum, Dusseldorf, the British Museum, London, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, Baroda Museum, Vadodara, Roopankar Museum, Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal and many more.