Mankind has observed and endured many rebellions and revolutions, all for the sake of freedom of the individual. Art has played an important role from the time immemorial to curate and influence popular opinion. As artists, they have been endowed with the foresight to see things to which a layman is oblivious and make him see what he was truly avoiding his whole life. Some of the contemporary Indian artists have been showing the mirror to the society from some time now. The same could be observed by observing their paintings online.
The artworks produced in the renaissance era were truly cribbed and influenced by the process of eulogizing the glory of beauty in things as they exist and putting efforts into glorifying it even more. The central theme of paintings was eye appealing. The focus was on form rather than matter, we could say. But, modern artists rebuked the confines of fine art and let their imaginations loose on the canvas. Thus, many art movements like expressionism, impressionism, abstractionism, etc. were formed.
The artists about whom we are now going to learn have fulfilled in the real sense the true purpose of being an artist. Let us celebrate these award-winning mavericks of art through this article.
- Jogen Chowdhury
Jogen Chowdhury took birth in undivided India in the year 1939 at Dahapara. It is a small village in District Faridpur, now in Bangladesh. He is one of the most celebrated Indian artists belonging to the 21st century. His dark and recondite theme evokes the basic feelings of fear and melancholy in the spectator.
He inherited his passion for art in his genes. His father, Pramatha Nath Chowdhary, was a zamindar and an art lover. He took a keen interest in the field of art and painting. His favorite themes were inspired by the Hindu mythologies. His mother too was a prominent and known face of Alpana Paintings.
Jogen Chowdhary saw political unrest and uncertainty in his times. He has admitted in many interviews that the political disturbance affected his life while he was in his tender years in Kolkata. This left a huge impact on his paintings. He grew up witnessing the hard and sweet truth of rural life. His earlier paintings depict the daily life of the rural population. But, there is a pinch of despondency and sadness in all his works carved on canvas through his cross Hatching Technique. This shows that his own experiences in life and others that surrounded him were far away from being normal.
He saw the horrific events that followed the painful partition of India in the year 1947. They had to leave his holdings in east Bangladesh to West Bengal. He then saw the stark and dark face of humanity. The struggle that he faced while in a refugee camp and the trauma attached to it shaped his work. Some of his work displays the horrors of abject poverty and a constant fight for survival in refugee camps.
The gloom that broods in his paintings is the result of communal riots that he had to bear in the wake of partition and after he settled in West Bengal, the monstrous famine that struck Indian in the year 1943, and the Food Movement of 1959. These events impaled the sensitive heart of the artist to a great extent.
Some of his famous works are:-
- Reclining Women, 1960.
- Composition-I, 1966.
- Untitled of 1997, depicts a twisted body
- Tiger in the Moonlight
- Abu Ghraib, 2005
- Nalini Malani
Nalini Malani has become the first Indian contemporary artist to win the Joan Miro Prize for the year 2019. The award was announced by Fundacio Joan Miro who is based out in Barcelona. Joan Miro was a Spanish painter whose works are admired for being explorative, innovative, determination, and a sense of freedom. The award is bestowed upon those painters whose works reflect these qualities.
Malani has won the seventh edition of the prize. Her paintings collectively reflect upon the plight of people who are silenced and have been stripped of their basic rights around the world. Though, it seems as if her works are trying to give voice to women particularly.
According to the jury,” The jury considers the Indian artist worthy of the prize for her longstanding commitment to the values of radical imagination and socio-political awareness,” as reported by The Economic Times in their issue of 25th May 2019.
Malani was born in Karachi, now in Pakistan, in the year 1946. She now lives and operates from Mumbai. Her family had to relocate to Kolkata during Partition. The problems she felt in those days reflect in her work. In 1958, her family relocated to Mumbai where she received her education in Fine Arts.
She completed her bachelor’s in art from the prestigious Sir J. J. School of Art in the year 1969. She shared her working place with other musicians, artists, dancers, actors, etc. at Bhulabhai Memorial Institute. She was also a recipient of an art scholarship that took her to Paris to pursue her passion in France from 1970-72. She also received a fellowship sponsored by the Government of India in the year 1984.
She was very vocal and assertive when it came to rights. The bias that female artists faced in the art world filled her with disappointment. However, this didn’t deter her from her path and she went on to become the first female artist to curate the first exhibition for female Indian artists. Her artwork has been displayed in some of the prestigious exhibitions organized by the most coveted art galleries like the Stedelijk Museum and the MoMA, Museum of Modern Art.
She started her artistic journey with drawing and painting and gradually developed to different mediums such as video, film-making and project animation. She considers that as an artist her work is that of a social activist. The central themes in her work are confrontation, displacement, politics, critical appraisal of Gender Stereotyping that identifies certain kinds of work with a specific gender, and outcomes of growing globalization and crony capitalism on people and states.
Contemporary Indian Artists like Jogen Chowdhury and Nalini Malani have kept the torch of humanity burning and may their work keep that aflame in time to come with their paintings online.