Friday, May 29th, 2009 | Author:

Bhupen Khakhar was born in Mumbai in the year 1934 in a middle-class Gujrati family. He was academically trained as a chartered accountant. In 1963, he moved to Baroda to join the Art Criticism Course at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the M.S. University. He started painting there and he joined the Seminal Narrative Figurative movement.

His early works of art portray his interest in the descriptions of the Indian popular culture. Bhupen Khakhar observes, draws, paints and illustrates his every day surroundings. This interest is now less evident in the artwork of Khakhar.

In his early works, Khakhar made use of ready-made images of idols which he then pieced together and painted over, at times with graffiti. Khakhar has been able to develop his own style of painting that binds his lack of formal training to offer an edge to his expressions.

His paintings portray uncomfortable sexual instances practiced secretly but usually set directly against a criticizing society. In 1982 his work “Two Men in Banaras” centers nude men embracing against a backdrop of a typical village. The lovers emerged to go unexposed by their neighbors, but they are expressively prominent to the painting’s viewers. Another work, “My Dear Friend” (1993), displays two men sharing an instance of closeness while being observed by a host of probable intimidating spectators. The men are trapped and bared in an instance of delight and hope, a moment of ultimate helplessness.

He exhibited his art work for the first time in Mumbai in 1965, and has had fourteen solo shows since then in different cities throughout the world. Khakhar made a free route for younger painters who pursued his path. In the sixties and seventies his work was mainly esteemed in Europe.

Bhupen Khakhar has become an established artist and one of India’s leading contemporary artists.

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