To Break And To Branch : Six Essays On Gieve Patel – Ranjit Hoskote


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Reflections on the evolution and philosophical depth of Gieve Patel’s art, adorned with illustrations of his paintings.

To Break and to Branch is a collection of six essays on the artist Gieve Patel (1940–2023), written by poet, cultural theorist, and curator Ranjit Hoskote over nearly two decades, gathered together for the first time and accompanied by over fifty illustrations of Patel’s paintings. In an introductory essay written especially for this edition, Hoskote looks back over the long friendship he shared with Patel, contextualizing it within the vibrant artistic milieu that was once special to Bombay, their home city: a milieu premised on a mutual curiosity that brought the arts together, hospitable to poetry, painting, theater, cinema, music, and architecture.

Embodying this spirit, Hoskote engages with Patel’s evolving oeuvre as a painter and his experiments with sculpture, while connecting them to his investments in poetry, theater, and his growing philosophical awareness of the more-than-human. Hoskote’s writings trace both the constant preoccupations and the changing interests that gave Patel’s art its distinctive character and reflect on the aesthetic, philosophical, and political dimensions of Patel’s gradual movement from a human-centric understanding of the world to a more holistic view as generated and sustained by interrelationships across orders of being.


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