Eclectic Visions unfolded in the bustling heart of Delhi, showcasing the rich tapestry of artistic expression. From poignant socio-political commentary to vibrant explorations of heritage and the fusion of jazz and art, our exhibit was a celebration of diverse voices and perspectives. The exhibit brought together four distinct voices, each weaving their narratives into the fabric of creativity.
As a girl born into the priestly class of pandits from the royal house of Kolhapur in 1929, Bhanumati Rajopadhye may have appeared as an unlikely instigator of dramatic change in the sphere of mass aesthetics. But it is no exaggeration to say that she led the nation’s gaze in the appreciation of feminine beauty, mined the country’s craft and couture traditions, and created waves in the worlds of fashion and consumer desire. One of the questions around Bhanu Athaiya’s vast oeuvre is how do we address her art in the context of her work in cinema and vice-versa.
Bhanu Athaiya's life story is a testament to the power of talent, determination, and passion. Born in Kolhapur, India, in 1929, Bhanu's artistic journey was shaped by her father Annasaheb Rajopadhye, an amateur artist who introduced her to the world of art. Kolhapur, a significant artistic center in the early 20th century, was a hotbed of creativity and social upheaval, with the local king actively promoting artisans. This environment exposed Bhanu to the likes of Abalal Rahiman, Dhurandhar, and Baburao Painter, who were prominent figures in the artistic circle of Kolhapur. Of particular note, Baburao Painter was a multifaceted artist who made significant contributions to both painting and filmmaking in India.
This academic exploration serves as an archive, offering a testament to the sought-after portraiture skills artist Atul Bose. Through a collection of newspaper cuttings, we delve into the intersection of artistry and history, with each article representing a chapter in the narrative of this renowned portrait artist. These cuttings, meticulously preserved, provide valuable insights into the recognition and praise garnered by Atul Bose's creations over time, as they secured their esteemed place within museums and government institutes.
Within the sphere of art historical exploration, the oeuvre of Surendranath Ganguly emerges as a subject of intriguing contemplation. A notable practitioner born in 1885, Ganguly's artistic journey found its genesis at the Government School of Art Calcutta, under the guidance of luminaries such as EB Havell and the visionary Abanindranath Tagore. Aligned with the artistic philosophy of Tagore, Ganguly, alongside Nandalal Bose, played an instrumental role in the revival of Indian artistic traditions that had been relegated to obscurity.
Ram Kumar’s existence in the art world was much like a peaceful mountain, exuding a sense of serenity and enduring presence. The reticent artist wielded both the pen and brush but ultimately embraced the latter as his mightier sword of choice. Born in 1924 in Shimla, Kumar’s meditative surroundings deeply affected his sensibilities as an artist. He imbibed a sense of calm from the silent mountains and the clear blue skies that found expression in his paintings. His affinity with nature, the serene flow of slow-seeping rivers, the allure of solitary spaces, and the haunting charm of abandoned structures would all combine to establish him as the foremost significant abstract painter in the Modern Indian art world.
The primary objective of this project was to create modernist generative portraits. We believe that NFT's purpose is to showcase serious modernist works. Inspired by a project dating back to 1948, we embarked on this venture with great enthusiasm and are thrilled with the outcomes.
We have attempted to use ChatGPT to help us name the characters. Currently, the names are simply numbers; however, each of these images has well-documented traits and we can use these to ask an AI engine for a name that suits the personality.
Modernism is crucial and important for collectible-grade art, and this principle extends to art in the digital format. This is what shapes our approach and sets us apart. Notably, this endeavor is poised to be India's first serious modern art profile-picture project.
Prinseps was thrilled to host the grand unveiling of our highly anticipated NFT project, "1948". This extraordinary project takes inspiration from Gobardhan Ash's Avatar Series, a collection of masterpieces crafted between 1948 and 1951. This remarkable collection of NFTs captures the essence of artworks created over seven decades ago, showcasing a distinctive and timeless quality. We are grateful for the overwhelming response sparking a riveting discourse about NFTs in the art world.
At Prinseps, we are working to change the discourse to redefine the critical period for modernism in India as the first half of the 20th century. Though academia reiterates the same, the art trade seems to have strayed with a focus on the later part of the 20th century. The early 20th century witnessed the uprising of major art movements questioning the status quo.
Inclined towards donning a baseball cap, adorning his rounded countenance with his distinctive dark goggles, along with his hallmark goatee and long curly locks, Louiz Banks, the legendary Indian jazz musician and composer is renowned as the "Godfather of Indian Jazz", for his immense contribution to the genre over the past five decades. Hailing from a family of six generations of musicians, Banks inherited his love for music from a young age and has myriad contributions to his name in the field of Indian music, unrestricted to jazz.
I sit staring into the blank canvas. My mind is unfettered, reaching out to embrace the world. All these shapes and scenes flit lucidly through my head, some familiar, others, I know not. Speaking of Modern Art, I must emphasise the fact that the art being created these days, cannot simply be labeled as Indian Art.
In these personal notes by Bhanu Athaiya, she fondly recalls her mother Shantabai with deep gratitude, love, and pride. She deems her mother the enabler of her success, dreams, and aspirations. Read on to know more.
Bhanu Rajopadhye Athaiya (b. 1929) was born in her 300-year-old sprawling ancestral house in the heart of Kolhapur. Bhanu grew up surrounded by indigenous and western political, social and cultural influences. Her ability to translate all this information into the medium of cinema and art made her the first Indian ever to win an Oscar. Bhanu Athaiya is not only recognised as the revered doyenne of Indian costume designers; but also a remarkable modernist 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".  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.
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.
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.
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.