Art: Chant of Centuries

Like many young instrument painters fitted in with New York, Mohan Samant, 37, lives at an unfashionable address in a loft building above a street thrumming with trucks. Unlike other young painters, he begins each day not at the easel but sitting shoeless and cross-legged atop a low podium, drawing out the eerie strains of his native Indian music on the sarangi, a chunky instrument fitted with 29 strings. Says the artist, who though an expatriate is ranked as one of his country's most modern painters, "I always felt at one with things that have...

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