Jyoti Bhatt received his training as a painter at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Baroda in his home state of Gujarat. He had just begun a teaching career when he won a fellowship to study first in Naples, and later at the Pratt Institute, where he learned printmaking. When he returned to India in 1966 his own artistic interests shifted to reproductive media: printmaking and photography.
A year later Bhatt attended a seminar in Bombay on the folk arts of Gujarat, an event that completely changed the direction of his career. The objects he saw inspired him to travel through his home state visiting villages and tribal regions. On these trips he documented people and their ways of life that even in the 1960s had begun to change in the face of modernization, a phenomenon even more pronounced today.
Bhatt has given voice to artists and people who would otherwise have remained in obscurity. His deep empathy for his subjects is eloquently revealed in his comments about folk artists and the objects they produce:
Each work of art provides an avenue of creativity, and refines human sensibilities and responses. Living within a creative network, an individual artist attains a special stature and refinement. The disappearance of the network, with the breakdown of traditional cultures, is bound to cause cultural impoverishment. (http://rogallery.com/Bhatt_ Jyoti/bhatt-biography.html)
Image: Jyoti Bhatt.Born in Bhavnagar, India, Born 1934. Lives and works in Vadodara, India. Two tribal women selling vegetables in a small town bazaar, Gujarat, 1968. Gelatin silver print. Collection of the Museum of Art & Photography, Bangalore. ©2016 Jyoti Bhatt. Image courtesy MAP