P. Mansaram
Collaboration and Collage //
Story by Monolina Bhattacharyya
Alternate View
Indo-Canadian artist Panchal Mansaram (b. 1934) has been a multimedia artist for 50 years. He is best known as a leader for a new generation of modern artists who work with collage.

Mansaram and McLuhan

One of Mansaram’s most propitious moments was his meeting with scholar Marshall McLuhan soon after his arrival in Toronto. McLuhan’s key theory, the medium is the message, stressed that the definition of a culture relies on the medium of communication in which it is expressed, thereby making the medium itself the message of that culture. For Mansaram, this was profound, and in sync with his own notions of the medium being the message of his art.

In 1969-70, Mansaram and McLuhan collaborated on a painting series where Mansaram portrayed in art the philosophies of McLuhan. Thus was born the Rear View Mirror series, which represented elements of natural ecologies, media networks and religious symbols.

Image: P. Mansaram. “Rear View Mirror #1”. 1969. Newspaper, manuscript page, doilies, other ephemera and paint on canvas. Gift of the artist. Courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum, ©ROM.


An atypical artist who experimented with different media, Mansaram created a form of art that became synonymous with him. He called it Mansamedia, which aptly summarizes the work that he became known for. Mansaram noticed collage everywhere, in nature, in items of everyday use, on the walls, on the ground. Mansamedia entailed a process of assembling pieces of different material on a canvas and thus creating collage as an artwork, a practical technique that conveys a sense of harmony with the natural environment. Collage gave Mansaram the freedom and scope to experiment with art: to collect, juxtapose and layer items of the everyday over his painted surfaces.

Image: P. Mansaram. “Kissing Movies”. c.1970. Newspaper, plastic, lenticular print ephemera and paint on board. Gift of the artist. Courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum, ©ROM.

P. Mansaram. "After a Winter Storm in Hamilton". c.1985. Acrylic enhanced giclee print on canvas. Gift of the artist. Courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum, ©ROM.

“I’ll keep on painting, it doesn’t matter. If I can take care of my work, doesn’t matter if somebody buys or not buy. That has been my attitude and it works. Somehow, somebody noticed, you know?”

        – P. Mansaram, 2018