Contemporary Art


Celebrating Bhanu Athaiya's artistic accomplishments

In lieu of India's 75th year of Independence, Google Arts and Culture celebrated Bhanu Rajopadhye Athaiya as one of India's trail-blazing icons. She leaves behind a rich and wonderful legacy built on creativity, fortitude, and immense talent. One of the early members of the Bombay Progressives group and India's first Oscar-winning Costume Designer, Bhanu Rajopadhye had a historically important early career as an artist, exploring the possibilities of Indian Modernism with her contemporaries at the J.J. School of Art and the Progressive Artists' Group.

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Celebrating Bhanu Athaiya's artistic accomplishments

A.A. Raiba: The insatiable artist

An unabating artist whose creative expression was unfazed by the trials and tribulations he faced, A.A. Raiba (b. 1922) was relentless; almost restless in his artistic pursuits till the very end saying, “Itni Umar Gayi, Kam khatam nahi Hua". [1] His visual narrative was derived from his love for Urdu poetry and Islamic Literature. Born in Mumbai, most of Raiba’s works exude nostalgia and are intimate observations of old Bombay and his travels all over the country. Raiba’s oeuvre is rooted in intensively researched history with influences from his lifelong practice in Calligraphy.       

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A.A. Raiba: The insatiable artist

Inside S.H. Raza's last studio

A meditative quality fills the senses as one steps into Raza's creative sanctuary in Delhi. Walls of art adorn each corridor, doorway, and room, giving one a glimpse inside the artist's mind. The leitmotif of Bindu in Raza's art looks out from all his canvases. While old photographs and a typewriter tell stories from another time. This studio is an exhibition of Raza's intimate world as an artist and a dreamer.

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Inside S.H. Raza's last studio

Somnath Hore's unique composition

This particular work, titled WOUNDS-104, being a very explicit depiction of Hore’s 'Wounds' gives one an insight into the artistic process.The work’s base layer is an etching dated in Bengali as 1972. There is a faint signature to the left that reads SO(mnath), followed by an eight in Bengali. Hence this piece seems to have been worked on by the artist for over a decade- the 70s and 80s, suggesting that masterpieces are indeed not made overnight.

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Somnath Hore's unique composition

Unearthing Bhanu Athaiya's artistic achievements

Bhanu Athaiya was the first woman artist to receive a gold medal from the J.J. School of Art for her work 'Lady in Repose', which was the first-ever abstract painting to be made by a member of the Progressive Artists' Group . This work which she addressed as Lying Lady in one of her handwritten letters along with The Nuns was painted as a part of her study at J.J. where Vasudeo S. Gaitonde was her mentor. In 1952, Gaitonde created the artwork 'Painting No.1' displayed at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

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Unearthing Bhanu Athaiya's artistic achievements

Artificial Intelligence: Competitor or Creative Collaborator?

In the quest of identifying the most important new technologies transforming the art world and creative processes - we focus on artificial intelligence (AI) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in particular. It is essential to understand how artists are weaving in technology into their practice while various art galleries and museums rewrite the rules of an exhibit. It is further important to analyse and gauge the potential of the blockchain as a suitable ecosystem in commercial art.

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Artificial Intelligence: Competitor or Creative Collaborator?

A letter from Ebrahim Alkazi to Gobardhan Ash

Ebrahim Alkazi and his wife Roshen Padamsee were significantly responsible for promoting many members of the Progressive Artists' Group not only in India but also at an international level. Apart from Alzaki; Mulkraj Anand, Walter Langhammer, Emmanuel Schlesinger, Rudi Von Leyden, and Kekoo Gandhy were also active as collectors. 

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A letter from Ebrahim Alkazi to Gobardhan Ash

Fine Art and its Aspect by Gobardhan Ash

The illustration and painting of the globe of ideal- the form of beauty appeared on the playground of five elements in tone a rhythmic posture by the display of harmonious posture. The awakened inner soul of mankind unifies the different sentiments by the marvelous tonal sublimation, the fine arts born in a rhythmic aptitude.

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Fine Art and its Aspect by Gobardhan Ash

M.F. Husain and Gobardhan Ash NFT drops

Alongside hosting the first NFT auction (Gobardhan Ash Avatars) in India, we are also proud to announce the first-ever NFT of the iconic M.F. Husain artwork “Lightning”, an initiative by art collector and entrepreneur Kent Charugundla. This move is bound to transform art markets worldwide. The name of this initiative "LightningNFT" is inspired by Husain's historic 60-foot-long mural titled 'Lightning" made in 1975 as a backdrop to an important speech given by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

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M.F. Husain and Gobardhan Ash NFT drops

Decoding Gobardhan Ash's Avatars

Ash’s experiments in art from the 1950s are characterised as avatars; primitive artworks depicting personality traits. His paintings comprise a technique composed of a scientific arrangement of colour dots, almost pointillist. His works are impeccable character studies. Listed below are Ash's avatars up for auction and an attempt to decode the same with reference to their titles. 

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Decoding Gobardhan Ash's Avatars

My tryst with the Calcutta Group by Gobardhan Ash

Sometime in the middle of December, in 1949, I met Prodosh Dasgupta, Prankrishna Pal, and Rathin Mitra at the Calcutta Photo Society at 157B, Dharamtolla Street. Prodosh happened to be a previous acquaintance. The other two gentlemen, however, I met for the first time. “Why, we’ve been looking for you. There’s something we would like to discuss,” they said.

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My tryst with the Calcutta Group by Gobardhan Ash

The history behind the Art Rebel Centre (1933) by Gobardhan Ash

Art Rebel Centre, founded in 1933, was formed and led by Gobardhan Ash, Abani Sen, Annada Dey, and Bhola Chatterjee. Subsequently, some of those invited to submit their work in exhibitions accepted membership. These include Lalit Chandra, Haridas Ganguly, Samar Dey, Amar Dasgupta, Sachin Das, Kalikinkar Ghoshdastidar, Khagen Roy, and Suren Dey, among others. Manoj Bose and Rabi Bose became members too, despite not providing paintings for exhibitions. The following is a brief history of how Art Rebel Centre came to be. 

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The history behind the Art Rebel Centre (1933) by Gobardhan Ash

Discovering layers, Bhanu Athaiya

"I wish my mother had seen all this because it was something that was just after her heart," said Radhika Gupta, the daughter of the Oscar-winning costume designer and artist Bhanu Athaiya. Talking about the documentation of her mother's antique textile collection recently consigned to Prinseps, Radhika Gupta dotes over her mother's inherited legacy.  

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Discovering layers, Bhanu Athaiya

Whispering Green: Moving towards 'Chance Aesthetics' by Jesal Thacker

A chronicle thinker, Prabhakar Barwe is best known for his thought experiments with object-form-content interrelationships. Born in the family of sculptors, Barwe’s father, Shivram, worked in various film studios, making sculptural molds for commercial use and, significantly, his grand-uncle, Vinayak Pandurang Karmarkar, who was well known for strictly following the academic genre of realism. Barwe’s spent his initial years in the Konkan village, where he was born, and his later years in Bombay (now Mumbai) surrounded by the natural and creative atmosphere.

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Whispering Green: Moving towards 'Chance Aesthetics' by Jesal Thacker

Gobardhan Ash’s Avatars - Physical & NFT Auction

Background Avatar, also known as a profile picture or user picture in the computing world, refers to a graphical representation of a user or the user's character or persona or possibly physical traits. It may take either a two-dimensional form as an icon in Internet forums and other online communities or a three-dimensional form, as in games or virtual worlds. (Wikipedia)

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Gobardhan Ash’s Avatars - Physical & NFT Auction

An introduction to NFTs

NFT's or Non Fungible Token's are a new technology phenomenon allowing clear ownership and easy transferability of digital art which can be unique or in editions. 

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An introduction to NFTs

Rabindranath Tagore's speeches: Santiniketan Mandir

...have hurt my ears severely. In entire India, it is only in Bengal, that Sanskrit pronunciation is such non-Aryan. Mutilation of Sanskrit in such a manner, I have not seen in any other state. Especially convolution of utter-able mantras is to be considered a blunder. Since it has hurt me, I had to say this.

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Rabindranath Tagore's speeches: Santiniketan Mandir

Rabindranath Tagore's speeches: Mandir

After many days, today I am present in front of you in this shrine (mandir). I have come with a lot of hesitation. I am aware that due to prolonged absence our entire organization has become weak. For whatever reason it may be, your minds are no longer ready to accept all the functions, activities, and rites of the Ashrama. There is no point denying this. For this, not only are you to be held responsible but we are equally responsible.

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Rabindranath Tagore's speeches: Mandir


M.F. Husain: The King of Hearts by Ashvin E. Rajagopalan

The only time I have seen M. F. Husain in person was at his exhibition in honour of singer M. S. Subbulakshmi at a gallery in Chennai (Madras) in 2004. Wearing no footwear, except for thick black socks, and wielding a massive paintbrush in one hand, Husain was surrounded by a group of Chennai’s socialites. I was patiently waiting behind them to meet Husain when he suddenly popped out and said, “Hello”. I was giddy with excitement and asked him to autograph the invitation card I had in my hand. He did so and quickly moved on to greet the next visitor. Husain was as excited to meet unknown gallery visitors as they were to meet him—the energy was amazing for a man who, at that time, was 91 years old. A year or so later, Husain left India, never to return. 

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M.F. Husain: The King of Hearts by Ashvin E. Rajagopalan

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