Shastri Maharaj was born on the 24th of January, 1953. He was educated at Naparima College, San Fernando and later gained his teacher's diploma at the Valsayn Teacher's College. In 1982 he entered the University of Manitoba, School of Art, majoring in painting and received his BFA in 1985. He obtained his Master of Education (MEd) from The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, 1990.
The volume of his artworks reflects a cross section of themes, which are presented in different artistic mannerisms. The subject matter for his paintings comes from experiences. Some statements become personal - a visual response to the death of his father; a visit to the "puja". Others are emotional and revel in sexual, domestic and romantic involvement. The rest of his works make statements about the society - traffic, squatting, war, etc., and yet others invite a very spontaneous approach to paint.
His exhibitions deal with his exploration in the language of paint. Most of his canvases do no look similar. The visual content changes from painting to painting. Art works cover traditionalism (figurative), to contemporary (post modernism) images.
There are always people represented on his canvases. These people are either portrayed in a very representational or formal way to a crude, simple unpretentious (almost primitive) or elementary manner. The paint goes from heavy build up - "impasto" - to almost transparent, brushless washes. The colours are optimistic. His approach to the canvas changes as the form within the work develops. Each canvas is a great surprise and greeted with great curiosity by him. Shastri says, "Initially, I have only a vague idea of my intention. When I have resolved a canvas, I feel damn good!"
Maharaj teaches art at the Valsayn Teachers College as a teacher educator in visual arts. He lives in Montrose, Chaguanas with his wife and family.