Tag-Archive for » Indian Art «

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.

Indian Wild Life Paintings

Monday, August 31st, 2009 | Author:

India is an extremely rich country in terms of art. One of the fascinating forms of Indian art is concept of wildlife paintings. This concept was given by the Ranthambore School of Art. There is an interesting story behind initiating of this noble venture. Ranthambore School of art had only one purpose at its inception and that was of saving the tigers of the Ranthambore Wildlife Sanctuary. The modus operandi was quite effective as the authorities focused upon recruiting students from neighboring villages and towns. Thereafter, these new students are made aware of dismal plight of fast reducing numbers of Indian tiger. The students are trained to be self-sufficient artists.


You will be surprised to see the effects of these paintings. The students of Ranthambore School of art managed to create awe-inspiring art works. The sketches created are mostly black and white life sized. The technique primarily used is watercolor. Looking at paintings, it seems like you are watching live tigers staring at you from close quarters. Such is the effect of these paintings. What works in favor of the students is the keen observational eye they have. That’s the trick behind aliveness of such paintings. The training methods employed on students is so effective that these artists become extremely skilled at painting the fearful creatures so beautifully.


Wildlife Paintings created by students of Ranthambore School of Art are vivid and strong in imagination. It also gives us a message about imminent extinction of tigers from our map. Having said that, if we soon don’t take any preventive steps to conserve the majestic tigers soon they will just appear in paintings. Wildlife paintings are not only aesthetic but also a strong message to the population about the need of protecting the tigers.

Camel Painting

Monday, August 24th, 2009 | Author:

Indian art contains several gems within that did not get their due acclaim. Blame it on other prominent forms of art that were publicized in a better way but nevertheless if we try to find we will come across some true gems in the hinterland of India. One of the hidden and yet impressive forms of art is camel paintings. Surprisingly, camel paintings are in existence since ages. They have always been an integral part of desert cultures in places like Rajasthan. Even the far placed Ancient Samarqand has engraved camel paintings on its walls dating back to 4th century A.D. known as the “ship of the desert”, camel has greatly influenced artistic imagination of the painters in several places. Camels have remained extremely crucial in transferring goods and people through deserts. Camels were primary subject of artists in Ta’ifa monarchies and Umayyad caliphate.


Archeologists have found several places where engravings of camel riders were performed during ancient era. Camels were associated with aristocratic power and pursuits. Rajasthani artists have always relished creating beautiful art works based on camel theme. If we go to Marwar region in the state of Rajasthan, we will find miniature camel paintings. Some of them also include legendary lovers like Dhola-Maru. Camel paintings offer you a mesmerizing world of desert landscapes. They successfully manage to evoke images of arid deserts.


Camels represent tolerance and sustenance and the art works capture those elements beautifully. Rajput Paintings are famous exponents of camel themes. Many Rajputi paintings depict outdoors specially lovers riding camels. Many war scenes are also wonderfully depicted in these paintings. The materials used in these paintings were mainly mineral dyes and vegetables. The primary colors were blue and yellow. 

Indian Art Summit 2009

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009 | Author:

8_bigThe global meltdown affected all the industries and the art market was no avrse to it. Indian art market was considerably affected with the global economic recession that set in during mid 2008. Many said that the real artist in the industry will continue to exist and attain greater heights inspite of the recession. And this has been surely proved by the Indian art summit that recently happened in Delhi. The summit gathered an enormous response and this has surely boomed the Indian art industry.


All those who took part in the summit had an awe-inspiring experience. Commercially as well people did very well and had huge amount of sales. Indian art summit gives a base to the modern contemporary Indian art that is now catching attention on international grounds. The central objective of India Art Summit was to focus on education and raising awareness about art, which has been effectively done this time.   


About 17 galleries were put up from around the world including some of the most prominent international galleries from Europe, Asia and the United States.


The summit was organized by Asia Art Archive, Asia Society, Lalit Kala Academy, The Devi Foundation, and the British Council. The summit exhibited the most assorted range of modern and contemporary paintings, sculpture, and photography which included mix media, prints, drawings and video art by known and forthcoming artists.


The fair ensured that the contemporary art scene in India gains visibility. It also gave an insight into the richness and diversity of the art market to the visitors that came from across the world.

Theorem Paintings

Monday, August 17th, 2009 | Author:

74_8x10If we look in dictionary, the word theorem is defined as ‘an expression of relations in an equation or formula.’ So, why are we talking about this term in a site that is purely dedicated to the fascinating world of art? Well, answer lies in theorem paintings that we are going to talk about. During the 19th century, many important scientific inventions were witnessed. These magnificent innovations completely changed the way humans lived and will live their lives. But the innovations were not just restricted to science. The world of art also saw some interesting innovations and one of the gifts of that era was Theorem Painting. Unlike other paintings, theorem painting uses certain formula of execution where everything is planned in a definitive way. This form of painting was primarily for greenhorns who could take the art even without any training.


The legend goes that women were the biggest fans of theorem paintings during the 1800s. This form of art aimed at producing aesthetic art works for the personal usage of artists. Even non-professional artists could diligently pursue this art. The primary technique used in theorem painting is of stenciling. Two or more stencils are used in the painting in such a way that no two areas immediately next to each other can be placed on the same stencil.


Talking about stencils, it is basically a painting tool or template that is very important for artists in creating repetitive designs. Stencil material is used for making of these tools. One can use numbers of designs, varieties and combinations to create attractive and fashionable designs. Often these designs are pure works of beauty. However, theorem painting could never get its due because of suspicion on creative abilities of the artists.


: Image coutesy home.earthlink.net


Sunday, July 26th, 2009 | Author:

One relatively less known and less advertised aspect of Indian art is Toys. We are talking about toys as an object of art. Like in many other segments, India always had a wonderful culture of toys. Brilliant clay toys have been found in excavation at Harappa and Mohenjodaro. This is not one-off case. In fact, huge number of clay toys has been found at several; excavations done by archeologist. The research says that, these toys have been made using a large variety of materials. Some of them are clay, cow dung, paper, red wood and papier-mache. Toys and dolls are gift of folk tradition followed in many parts of the country.


It is a prevalent tradition to make toys during religious festivals. Many state tribes celebrate the arrival of new seasons and memorable occasions with variety of dolls and toys. The beauty of this tradition is variety one gets. One can find different fascinating style of toys incorporated in the traditional aspect of states. Medium like lacquered wood with prints is one of the oldest in toys culture. The most famous pilgrimage place in India, Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh is hub of specially carved red wood toys. These toys are known as Tirupati dolls. Similarly, the state of Bihar is famous for clay images demonstrated in Shyama Chak festival.


Southern state of Andhra Pradesh is famous for leather puppets. Usage of vegetable dyes is quite evident in five feet high and attractively painted puppets. In the North-Eastern state of Assam, the culture of toys is in existence since many centuries. The unique point about this culture is usage of Indian cork. Fabric and old clothes are used in Rajasthani art of toys. The toys making is categorized in Indian craft segment.

Wood Work

Sunday, July 19th, 2009 | Author:

There is one hidden but precious part of Indian art that has remained relatively unknown. Yes, it is wood works. India is second to no other country when it comes to luxuriant range of wood works. The country’s culture places special emphasis on usage of wood in numerous rituals and festivals. If we go back to the pages of history, the Kashmiri wooden architecture is a very famous one. The beauty of Kashmiri wooden culture was usage of deodar and walnut wood. Time has remained still in this part of the country since 11th century.


As mentioned above, India celebrates special occasions where wood is considered as very important for the culmination of the rituals. Many parts of India are famous for wooden architecture. Take for example, teakwood that has been so wonderfully used in tharavad homes of Kerala and Havelis of Gujarat. They look as elegant as attractive. Apart from them think of lattice work known as acche-dar and azli pinjra and you will realize the beauty of wooden arts of India. Many small towns in far corners of the country have attained acclaim on the basis of their wood works.


If we move to northern state of Himachal Pradesh, it houses places known as Brahmour and Chatrahi. Their ticket to fame came in form of amazing temple wood carving tradtion. Done in eclectic styles like jail, dori, naghbel, kutheri and phool, tourists visit this place just to have a glimpse of this fine art. One of the best examples of temple wood carving is Bhimakali Temple of Sarahan.


Karnataka is famous for its sandalwood. This wood is used in carving items like statues of gods and goddesses, utilitarian objects and sandalwood boxes. Similarly, its neighbor Andhra Pradesh is famous for producing red sandalwood also known as raktachandan. It is used for carving statutes of deities. These are not just standalone examples. States like Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa and Rajasthan are famous for their magnificent wood works.

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.

Bell Metal craft

Sunday, July 12th, 2009 | Author:

Art aficionados must have heard of Bell metal craft.  It is hugely popular amongst the art lovers all across India. One of the beautiful heritages of amazing Indian art, bell metals are known for their design and lost patterns. Some of the designs will simply take your breath away. Bell metals are in existence since centuries. It is basically an alloy that has been repeatedly used for carving artistic products. Bell metal craft often symbolizes pure beauty of tribal art. According to many opinions, it resembles bronze in some aspects. These materials are molded artistically and the final result manifests itself in form of distinguished form of art.


Bell craft is popular in many parts of the country like Assam, Bihar and West Bengal. However, Kerala is credited with the origin of this precious art. It has numerous usages, both for aesthetic as well as utility purposes. Objects like home furnishing materials, ornaments, utensils etc have been made using this metal. Many tribal deities have been shaped using bell metal craft. Many designs in different size and shape have been carved in bell metal craft. Raw materials required for bell metal handcrafted items are rice bran, charcoal, clay, jute fibers and lac etc. 


There is a process called lost wax using which bell metal crafts are manufactured. This is a very ancient method but still widely used. Some of the artifacts of Bell metal are very popular across the world. Always in demand, these artifacts never go out of fashion. Some of the prominent ones are Bells, Lanterns, Boxes, Lamps, Bottle openers, Lamp Shades, Musical instruments, Tribal figurines and Tribal Animals. Considering the popularity of bell metal craft and new found interest in it, this craft is sure to flourish.

Abanindranath Tagore

Thursday, July 02nd, 2009 | Author:

Abanindranath Tagore, son of Gunendranath Tagore was born in Calcutta on 7th August, 1871. He contributed to the revitalization of traditional Indian art and discarded the materialistic practices of the west. He supported the Swadeshi values in Indian art. Besides being a renowned artist, Abanindranath Tagore is also known for his writings, especially for children.

Abanindranath started his training under the supervision of Signor Gillhardi, his tutor and a renowned Italian artist. Soon after that he attended the studio of an English painter, Mr. Charles Palmer and achieved expertise in portrait and oil painting. His interest in watercolors was truly outstanding. E.B.Havell, Principal, Calcutta School of Art, on seeing Abanindranath’s paintings was overwhelmed. He asked Abanindranath to join them as the Vice-principal of the School. Under
the supervision of Havell, Abanindranath learnt the Mughal and Rajput techniques of painting comprehensively. He also assisted Havell in the rekindling of the teaching styles at the school.

Abanindranath was introduced to the Japanese style of art by Okakura, a distinguished artist. He was influenced by their style and traditions and he started incorporating the calligraphic trends into his works. The Indian Society of Oriental Art was set up to promote the Abanindranath-style on the national level. Abanindranath steered the modem art movement in Bengal. He convinced the world that the Indian artists had their own bit to give in to the world of art. Some of his most popular paintings include Nights, Krishnalila, Lovelorn Yaksha and Devadasi. His works have been displayed in exhibitions internationally, at Paris, London and Tokyo.

In 1889, Abanindranath tied the knot with Suhasini Devi. Abanindranath Tagore was the nephew of Rabindranath Tagore. In his later years, Abanindranath took up sculpturing, on branches of trees and other trashes which were given the title of ‘kutam-katam’ by him. Abanindranath Tagore expired on 5th December, 1951.