Contemporary Art


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

Rabindranath Tagore's speeches: Havell Hall

Today, dedicated to whose memory we have gathered together, whose memory-hall is to be founded today; it is necessary to tell something about him. His identity for many today is not that bright.

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Rabindranath Tagore's speeches: Havell Hall

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

Pupul Jayakar: the craft catalyst

Pupul Jayakar had an undying passion for preserving the country's culture and weaving tradition. She was a writer and an advocate of crafts in Indian society. The textile scholar aimed to restore India's cottage weaving industry. Her interest in rural arts and crafts, her eye for potential, and her unparalleled execution skills initiated a change in many areas of craft. Jayakar singlehandedly led the revival of arts and handicrafts in India. Hence, she established The Weavers' Service Centre formerly known as the Handloom Design Centre in the 1950s. 

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Pupul Jayakar: the craft catalyst

Ganesh Pyne: The Mystical Artist

An intensely private artist whose artistic imagination was fuelled by the strange, dark fantasy of his grandmother’s stories and charred by the horrors of his reality, Ganesh Pyne's paintings are quiet revelations of his personality. Pyne's intricate ink works, haunting temperas, and jottings are rich in imagery and symbolism, bordering along the uncanny and drawing our attention to a world beyond the familiar. His art deeply rooted in dark, unsettling images, derived from mythology and dreams. 

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Ganesh Pyne: The Mystical Artist

Uncle Husain by Anjum Siddiqui

I had the good fortune of spending a larger part of my life in close association with M. F. Husain. Or Uncle H, as I called him. He was more than just a friend of the family. He was part of the family. We all lived, painted, and went on vacations together. There were always the choicest of paints and canvases in the house while growing up, for which I am always thankful to him. I got to paint alongside him right from when I was 6 years old. As a child, he must have seen a unique creative spark in me. Or so he said to me in a note, written inside a book he sent me just a month before he passed away. 

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Uncle Husain by Anjum Siddiqui

On Bhupen Khakhar's encaustic painting - Ranjit Hoskote

At first sight, this encaustic painting – rendered in heated beeswax, into which pigments of various colours have been mixed – seems to be worlds away from what most viewers know of Bhupen Khakhar’s work. There are no limp-limbed yet curiously wide-awake men from a broad middle class; no domestic interiors laid out for erotic encounter; no playful or picaresque encounters among figures whose ordinariness is belied by some eccentric bodily feature or undecipherable gesture. No figures at all, in fact. 

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On Bhupen Khakhar's encaustic painting - Ranjit Hoskote

Bhupen Khakhar: the gentle radical painter

An observer and painter of life, a chartered accountant occasionally picked up his paintbrush to reflect the uncanny, the fantastical, the mixed droll, and dramatic impulses quintessential to everyday life. Bhupen Khakhar (b.1934) unabashedly revealed the melancholia, mundanities, and inner monologues of the marginal man. Khakhar was born in Bombay, but the quaint town of Baroda nurtured the artist in him. An office accountant in the city of dreams, money was not the only thing Bhupen wished to draw.

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Bhupen Khakhar: the gentle radical painter

From the archives: F.N. Souza on Modern Art

A letter written by Francis Newton Souza expressing his views on Modern Art in the summer of '88. This is one of Souza's three letters to be featured in the Modern Indian Art auction this May,

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From the archives: F.N. Souza on Modern Art

Manjit Bawa: the lyrical painter

Once upon a time, a dreamer derived his painterly language from Indian mythological tales, legends, and fables rich in moral and spiritual lessons. Manjit Bawa (b. 1941) introduced fragments of his thoughts, ideas, and poetry into the rational world throughout his artistic oeuvre. Born in Dhuri, Punjab, Bawa's childlike fascination with music, spirituality, and philosophy breathed heavily on his canvas. Manjit Bawa's artworks are mystical musicals that strike a chord and capture a dream.

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Manjit Bawa: the lyrical painter

A historical rediscovery: the second PAG Catalogue, 1950

Stated below is the text of the second catalog of the Bombay Progressive Artists' Group in collaboration with the Calcutta Group. Gobardhan Ash's works were exhibited in the joint show of the Calcutta Group and Progressive Artists’ Group alongside masters such as K.H. Ara, Francis Newton Souza, Maqbool Fida Husain, S.H. Raza, H.A. Gade, and S.K. Bakre at Calcutta in 1950. This document is indeed a historically prominent yet lesser-known artistic discovery in the world of modern Indian art. 

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A historical rediscovery: the second PAG Catalogue, 1950

Gobardhan Ash: the quiet master artist

A silent, dedicated artist content amidst the walls of paintings stacked in his Begampur mud house stirred a quiet revolution against the preconceived notions of artistic expression. No wonder Gobardhan Ash (b.1907) carved a niche for himself as an individualistic artist who fearlessly explored diverse artistic styles and techniques.

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Gobardhan Ash: the quiet master artist

An introduction to the Weavers' Service Centre

Years ago, artists from various walks of life gravitated towards a creative anomaly near Mumbai's Opera House. The Weavers' Service Centre was established in the 1950s by Pupul Jayakar. Masters such as Prabhakar Barwe, Anand Mohan Naik, Gautam Waghela, Ramesh Vaghela, and Gopal Adivrekar designed textiles at the center for years to support themselves while exploring their identities as artists. 

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An introduction to the Weavers' Service Centre

Bhanu's ode to the Progressive Artists' Group

Bombay, May 2010 - "I was exposed to paintings from a very young age. My father was a self-taught artist who sometimes painted in oils by studying the old European masters and sometimes following his own inspiration. In his studio, he had many books on paintings of European masters like Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Turner, Gainsboro, Constable, and others. I enjoyed looking at these books just as I enjoyed washing my father's brushes and pallet.

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Bhanu's ode to the Progressive Artists' Group

Bhanu Athaiya: The Oscar Winning Designer

Bhanu Athaiya achieved a lot over a period of six decades - the only woman member of the Progressive Artists Group and the first Indian to win an Oscar.

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Bhanu Athaiya: The Oscar Winning Designer