Archive for the Category » Indian Contemporary Art «

Indian contemporary artists: Vivan Sundaram

Monday, September 14th, 2009 | Author:


Among the exhaustive list of talented contemporary artists, name of Vivan Sundaram stands out. A true talent he is equally efficient in painting and sculpting. What sets him apart from the crowd is his approach towards painting. He is not your predictable drawing room artist. He would rather focus upon completing multidimensional projects that invite audience participation. That sounds quite interesting, no! He has often performed in an open-stage theatre where performer and spectator can indulge in live interactions.  The best part of such performance is continuous feedback and multiple meanings evoked by the performer. In different words, that also provides an altogether different perspective of one’s work.

Art is a subject that does not have any fixed meaning. It is always subject to different interpretations of diverse range of spectators and interesting part is all of them are correct in their analysis. It is a huge compliment for an artist if his work is considered as a cultural product and not just an object to be hanged in the drawing room. Sundarama is one such artist who has managed to evoke fascinating reactions from the audiences. His work is not merely an imagination of unforeseen realities. It is rather concerned with socio-political history and the surrounding environment. The live interaction signifies viewers can observe and let their thought process run wildly and respond accordingly. The object they react to could be a painting or enclosures or a crafted construction.   

Sundarama makes art works that invite reactions. That is quite a unique approach and very rarely seen on art landscape. Sundarama often redesigns, transforms and renews his works in a new fashion and presents it to the world. Considering his fresh approach towards the art works, he is definitely going to stay and excel.

Indian contemporary artists: Subodh Gupta

Monday, September 07th, 2009 | Author:


Indian art landscape keeps throwing surprises at rest of the world. India has remained a fertile ground for new breed of artists with immense talent. It is not just about coming to the media light once in a lifetime but its more about silently dedicating life to art. Many such artists can be found across the Indian landscape. One can’t help but think highly of such artists who have kept improving the standards of the art in their way. One such artist is Subodh Gupta who has made people notice his sheer talent. The specialty of his work is connection between past and present experiences that are manifested through art. Many experts have termed Gupta’s work as eccentric imaginings. But these imaginations presented in colors symbolize dimensions of public myths and rituals. His work covers a wide gamut of motifs to important information in an eccentric way.

Subodh Gupta was born in Bihar and completed his studies from Patna. Several of his solo exhibitions have been held at places like Mumbai, Delhi and foreign locations like New York and Amsterdam. He has also been a winner of ‘Emerging Artist Award’ and scholarship from Lalit Kala Academy.

The work of Subodh Gupta can best be seen through the prism of complicated inter-relation and inter-connection of communities spread in urban and rural parts of India. Common events witnessed on a daily basis often work as his motivation. His sense of aesthetic is greatly influenced by objects found all around us. His work of art must be viewed from a contemporary perspective. It’s not about abstract themes. It is more about global issues affecting the fabric of Indian society. Themes like consumerism and the modernization of traditional Indian society are the hallmarks of his art works.

Emerging Indian artists: Kruti Mukherjee

Friday, August 28th, 2009 | Author:

kruti_12v_bigBorn on March 23, 1980 in  Bhavnagar, Gujarat, Kruti holds a Masters in Fine Arts (Creative Painting), from the University of Baroda and a Bachelors in Fine Arts (Painting) from the same university. Kruti has participated in many exhibitions, the recent one being the 2009 ‘An Ode to Perfection’, Bank on Art Gallery, New Delhi, the 2008 ‘Intensity in Diversity’, Domus Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2008 ‘Labours of Soulmates: What Are You ?’, Creative Platforms, Bangalore, 2008 ‘Continum’, in support of Udayan Care at New Delhi and many more. Kruti has also received the (2006-07) National Level Scholarship from the Lalit Kala Akademi.



kruti_20j_bigKruti almost breaks the monotony of the habit of the common man to see everyday objects. She presents them in an all together different way that leaves the viewer awe struck. These various juxtapositions probe you to look at the painting for hours and find meaning, each ones own meaning to the image that is projected in front of you. This fusion of two very different objects that come together and mingle into one another gives a feeling as if there is some kind of conversation between the two. It seems as if each object is questioning each other’s identity and their existence. It is not humorous, but the sheer contrasting ideas that are put together seem to make the viewer laugh at its weirdness.  Mukherjee has painted a picture that speaks a thousand words and those words form a story that the viewer completes. Kruti has used bright colours which add to the liveliness of the objects in her painting. What do you have to say about them?

Abstract Art

Monday, August 03rd, 2009 | Author:

Abstract art is one without an identifiable theme, one which doesn’t narrate something peripheral or try to imitate some thing. as a substitute the colour and appearance are the topics of the abstract art. It’s entirely without an aim or objective.
An additional difference is likely to be made between abstract art which is geometric, for example, the art work of Mondrian, and abstract art that is more liquid such as the abstract art work of Kandinsky or Pollock.
Moreover, usually classified with abstract art are symbolic ideas and paintings which stand for things that aren’t visual or illustrative, like emotions, sounds, or divine occurrences. Symbolic ideas are abstractions or generalizations of reality, where detail is eradicated from identifiable objects leaving only the essence or recognizable form to some extent.
In the history of Western art, the myth that every art for had to represent something or the other was broken at the start of the 20th century. This revolution happened with art movements like Impressionism, Fauvism and Cubism. Impressionism referred to painters not finishing their paintings. On the other hand, in Fauvism, colours were used in a non-realistic way. Cubism, as the name states, referred to painting an object from more than one perspective. These ideas gave rise to the thought that anything like the colour or texture can be the subject or the theme of the painting.
Abstract Expressionism come into sight in the 1940s. It applied the laws of Expressionism to abstract painting. Jackson Pollock’s action painting where paint was dripped, dropped, spread, sprinkled and thrown on the canvas, is a fine example.
Abstract painting has given artists a completely new line of ideas. They have the freedom to listen to their gut, without worrying about the limits of art, paint the canvas the way they want to.

Mithu Sen

Friday, July 24th, 2009 | Author:

Mithu Sen is considered one of India’s finest and most dynamic contemporary artists. She is born in 1971 in West Bengal and has secured her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in painting from Kala Bhavan at Santiniketan. She later did a postgraduate program at the Glasgow School of Art on the Charles Wallace India Trust Award.

Sen is known for her thought provoking paintings that always keep the onlooker pondering over the country’s social values. There is also an element of humour to her painting that is snickering, asking the viewer what do we do as human beings? She reveals the reveal all the social, emotional, political, and fundamental aspects of identity and of human being in general.

She feels that a new piece of art opens up new possibilities, new meanings, and a new realm and that nothing can be more interesting than becoming a part of it. She is worked on a wide range of media including drawing, collage, sculptural projects, and installation.

Also she is quite experimentative in her work and her solos ‘Can We Really Look beyond the Map’ in New Delhi (2000) and ‘Unbelongings’ in Glasgow (2001), and ‘I Hate Pink’ among others are a testimony to that.  In her work, she also suggests the influence of society on our identity and development. Sen’s works are often a characteristic of her own self and how she copes with her role as a successful artist. She also brings out the femininity and sexuality in post-modern world on her canvas. There is also a slight hint of sarcasm which prompts the onlookers to play with the ideas and meanings of ‘self’

Prokash Karmakar

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 | Author:

Prokash Karmakar is the son of the renowned artist Prahlad Karmakar. He was born in 1933. He missed learning art from his father because as soon as Prokash got acquainted with the basics of artwork, his father expired. Due to this mishap, Prokash had to quit art and join the army in 1949 to earn a living for himself. But he soon realized that art is where he wanted to be.
Prokash Karmakar won the National Award for his artistic skills in 1968. He made the country proud both, nationally and internationally. Prokash was a founder member of the Society of Contemporary Artists. He also was the initiate member of the Calcutta painters. His active participation and association in the promotional activities related to the art in Bengal is commendable.
Prokash Karmakar was the founder member of the Calcutta Art Fair as well. He has displayed his works in a number of solo exhibitions within the country. His exhibitions have been held in Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi. He has also taken part in a couple of group exhibitions in the country.
Prokash has primarily excelled in acrylic and oil painting. Karmakar’s artworks illustrate that he uses thick lines to draw human figures and to make the entire work look subtle, he uses simplified backgrounds. The patches in his paintings are highlighted completely in bold shades.
His sketches are noteworthy; especially for their expressive alterations of life and the existence of living beings. He is capable of expressing the sensuality of women worthily. He adds a twist and a weave to the usual linear patterns. Since a decade, Prokash Karmakar has been engaged in painting landscapes. This has been admired by millions of art lovers. He has been inclined to continue painting themes from the contemporary society leaving behind the traditional issues.

Francis Newton Souza

Saturday, July 18th, 2009 | Author:

Francis Newton Souza was born on 12 April 1924, in Saligao, Goa. Francis Newton Souza was a renowned Indian painter of his time. Francis Newton Souza studied at Sir JJ School of Art in the city of Mumbai. However, he was later suspended because he uncompromisingly supported the Quit India movement in 1945.

Francis Newton Souza was the one to set up the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group. The motto of this group was to inculcate confidence and increase the morale of the follow artists. The main objective was to encourage Indian artists to participate in the international avant-garde. But, after India achieved freedom from the British rule, FN Souza moved base to London, United Kingdom. His work was included by the Institute of Contemporary Art in a 1954 display. Soon after this, many other exhibitions followed.

His talents in the literary field also helped to boost his career. His autobiographical work Nirvana of a Maggot was published in the journal called Encounter. Encounter was then edited by Stephen Spender. Also, another add on to his literary reputation was his book Words and Lines which was published in 1959.

Francis Newton Souza’s career built up progressively. He took part in a number of exhibitions and shows. John Berger also acclaimed him positively. John Berger mentioned that Souza’s style was purposely assorted, essentially Expressionist in character, but also drawing on the post-war Art Brut movement and elements of British Neo-romanticism.

Souza settled in New York in 1967. He returned to India a little time before his death. His funeral took place on March 30 at a graveyard in Sewri, India.
A self styled painting by Souza was displayed in Feb 2009 at the BBC Antiques Road show. Souza was the first Indian artist to gain international recognition and represent India on a global level.

Progressive Artists’ Group

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 | Author:

In previous article we talked about contribution made by some imminent painters in modern Indian painting movement. One of the artists of that era was Jamini Roy who particularly worked on folk art of Bengal. He adopted new means of painting and focused on new themes that catered to grounded themes. Apart from him other artist who really gave her all was Amrita Shergill who is credited with producing several great art works.


Post independence Indian art world witnessed a new scenario called Progressive Artists’ Group. This new event took off from where Modern Indian Painting had left. One must have heard of legendary names this group boasted of. Names like Francis Newton Souza the founder, Maqbool Fida Husain, S.H.Raza, H.A.Gade, S.K.Bakre and several other luminaries. The group worked on a contrasting method. On one hand the themes were bold and progressive whereas on the other side of the spectrum, softness reigned supreme. The first painting exhibition of the group took place in 1948.


Progressive Artists’ Group opened completely new avenues for emerging artists. Now, they did not need to follow any pattern. Expression was the buzzword and it could be all subjective depending upon the perspective of the artist. The following decades witnessed arrival of fascinating talents like V.S. Gaitonde, Balraj Khanna and J.Swaminathan. all these names were abstract painters. Some other prominent names in contemporary Indian art that came out of the movement were, Biren De, G.R.Santosh, Gulam Muhammed Sheikh, Bhupen Khakkar, K.K.Hebber, S.H.Raza, Akbar Padamsee, Tyeb Mehta, Krishna Khanna, Laxman Shrestha, Navjote, Jeram Patel, Jyoti Swaroop, Ram Kumar, Jehangir Sabavala, Rameshwar Broota, Manjit Bawa and Sundaram and many others. This became an all India phenomenon where artists emerged from every corner of the country. Female artists like Anjolie Ela Menon, Arpana Caur, B.Prabha, Kamala Das, Lalitha Lajmi and Meera Devidayal also came to the forefront and dazzled world with their talents. Indian art no more remained the same. The efforts of these artists can now be felt at international stage.

Alex Mathew – Life and Achievements

Monday, July 13th, 2009 | Author:

Alex Mathew, a renowned contemporary artist, was born in Trivandrum in 1957. He studied at the College of Fine Arts in Trivandrum an acquired a national diploma in sculpture in 1981. He continued studying this till a post graduation from M.S. University, Baroda in 1984. He concentrated his work largely on wooden figures, most of them engraved in a style signifying the eternal and primary associations of humans with the earth-world they come from. There are also indications at the divine and the erotic.
Alex Mathew achieved a scholarship to the Hoch Schule fur Bildene Kunset Braunscheig in West Germany. There he received exposure to European artistic trends, both traditional and contemporary. This later reflected in his works of art.
A fairly remarkable attribute of his later work appears to be the need to leave the essence of the original material as much as he can. His carvings of tree trunks, his statements from holding their brooding, almost threatening, anxiety; these come out from the shaded parts of the figures and shapes that engirth them now. The observer must unavoidably notice and experience.
Alex Mathew has had various shows all over India. His exhibitions have been held in the major galleries in India, as well as in Geneva in 1987. Even though he has a preference for wood over other materials, he has experimented with fiberglass. His exhibitions comprise one at Chemould, Bombay 1993, Seven, Young Sculptors, New Delhi 1985, Questions and Dialogues, Baroda 1986, Alekhaya Darshan, Geneva 1987, Timeless Art, Bombay 1989, Venkatappa Art Gallery, Bangalore 1990, Song of the Dark Times, CIC, New Delhi, Jehangir Art Gallery and Chemould, Bombay 1991, Sparrow, Bombay 1992, Deutsche Bank Collection, Bombay 1994, 100 years of Contemporary Indian Art, NGMA, New Delhi 1994, Recent Trends in Contemporary Indian Art Vadehra Gallery, New Delhi 1995.
Alex Mathew has become an established and reputable artist and one of India’s leading contemporary artists.

Jahar Dasgupta

Saturday, July 11th, 2009 | Author:

Jahar Dasgupta is a renowned name in the field of Indian art. He was born in 1942 in Jamshedpur, Bihar. He learnt art at Shantiniketan under legends like Ramkinkar Baiz and Benode Bihari Mukherjee. He got his diploma in painting in 1964. Soon after that he organized his solo workshop at Birla Academy, Kolkata. That was where his career started to boost.

Jahar Dasgupta uses subtle but bright shades in his paintings. He recreates the barriers between traditional and contemporary art. Women and nature are a vital part of his paintings. He gives immense importance to these two subjects. Jahar Dasgupta has displayed his work in many solo as well as group exhibitions. He is one of the founder members of Painters’ Orchestra.

His paintings have been featured in various forms of media, like the Bengali magazine Shatak Ekush and the documentary film Bornomoy Jahar, directed by Sandeep Ray. In the Silver Jubilee Painters’s Orchestra, a book called “Poem on paintings” was released, which had a poem on Jahar Dasgupta’s work, and was written by Shakti Chatterjee.

Jahar Dasgupta is the president of the academy of fine arts, Kolkata and a founder member of Sijuti Art Gallery. His solo shows were displayed at Chitrakoot Art Gallery, Lalit Kala Academy, Academy of Fine Arts, Gallery Honsmania in Norway and Club Bangladesh in Sweden. He also participated in a number of group exhibitions like Nehru Centre in London, Salon Exposition in South Korea, Indian Habitat Centre in New Delhi, Academy of Fine Arts in Kolkata, Jahangir Art Gallery in Mumbai, etc.

Even today, his artworks are exhibited internationally in countries like U.S.A., U.K., Spain, Norway, France, Korea and Muscat. Jahar Dasgupta has received recognition and appreciation for excellence in art, and has achieved admiration and pride for our nation on a global level.