Ballari: Well-known Dutch artist Robert Geesink passed away at the Vijayanagara Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS) here on Friday after a brief illness. He was 74. Mr Geesink, who was living at the world heritage site Hampi for the past four decades, was suffering from breathing problems for the last several days.
There was a time in the heady seventies when the hippie culture was popular here. Westerners looked to the east for simple truths about their existence, many found it in Hampi with some settling here permanently and even adopting Indianised names.
One of them was Robert Geesink. In 1978, Mr Geesink reached India a broken man. Hampi, however, gave the Dutchman hope. Though the village in Karnataka was in ruins, much like his mind, the peace and solace beckoned him. It gave him a surreal landscape and a blank canvas. His artistic thirst was quenched.
For 38 years since, Robert's love of Hampi survived and thrived. He produced hundreds of paintings based on local culture and four children with two Lambani wives.
Probably, Deccan Chronicle was the last newspaper to interview him on November 3 during “Hampi Utsav” celebrations. Then he said, “Hampi was very different then; you could live wherever you wanted, without any authorities bothering you.”