Born in a cowshed into a once-illustrious family, Manjit Bawa entered the world of pencil and charcoal by accident. Unlike his contemporaries, Manjit did not blindly ape Western trends, choosing instead to base his art on Indian mythology and references. Shunning greys, dull blues and browns, he adopted brazen yellows, luminous greens, bright crimson, turquoise and indigo as his own. It wasn't long before a Bawa solo show was completely sold out and he was counted among India's finest and most original artists. He won the Lalit Kala Akademi Award in 1980.
Chronicling Manjit Bawa's personal and professional journey and the myriad influences that shaped him, Ina Puri writes to life his many facets-artist, poet, pacifist, singer, musician, actor, father, husband and friend. She gives us delightful peeks into Bawa's life and milieu as he cycles across the countryside, charcoal stick in hand, sketching bearded fakirs, Sufi singers and monuments in ruins; walks behind Bertrand Russell in an anti-war procession in London; and organizes, along with fellow artists, 'Rejects 1984', an exhibition to challenge the dogmatic art establishment.
Evocative and insightful, In Black and White has, as Manjit Bawa says in his foreword, 'the right mix of colours'.