Contours of Modernity: An Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art - Curated by Debashish Banerji and Nalini Rao

A Picture Gallery (Click on image to see larger views with title and description)

Bandyopadhyay, Ramananda (1936 - ):   Ramananda Bandyopadhyay studied art at Kala Bhavan, Shantiniketan, under Nandalal Bose of the Bengal School. Bandyopadhyay's life and work are imbued with a mature mystic sensibility, Bandyopadhyay lives and works in the city of Kolkata. Concerned with the preservation of communitarian values against the rootless individualism fostered by modernity, in Badyopadhyay’s words, “I represent the village within the city.”


Banerji, Amrita (1965 - ): Amrita Banerji is a self-taught artist who lives in Los Angeles, CA. and Auroville, India. Banerji uses her art to express ideas and experiences, following practices based on the teachings of her spiritual teacher, Sri Aurobindo. Interpreting internal processes through a rich personal symbolism, Banerji often deconstructs received understandings of religion and reconstitutes them from within. Though it will not be fair to label her as a Neo-Tantric artist, her work sometimes incorporates Tantric metaphors.


Bhattacharjee, Bikash (1940 - ): Bikash Bhattacharjee graduated from Indian College of Art and Draftsmanship in 1963. He joined the same college as professor in 1968. From 1973, Bhattacharjee began teaching at the Government College of Arts and Crafts in Calcutta and taught there till 1982. Bhattacharjee is one of Bengal’s most celebrated contemporary artists, painting hyper-real and surreal portraits and scenes in a variety of media. Bourgeois corruption and hypocrisy are among his most consistent themes.


Broota, Rameshwar (1941 - ): Rameshwar Broota has a diploma in painting from the College of Art, Delhi. Broota has become well known for his images of monumental ape-like figures, the dehumanized and speechless subjects and objects of a technological modernity. Broota painstakingly uses a blade to scrape color from the surface of his canvases and reveal his haunting nightmare world of looming sub-human forms and bleak landscapes.


Chakravarty, Anjan (c.1956 - ): Anjan Chakravarty studied at the Benares Hindu University, where he presently teaches in the Art department. Chakravarty is a scholar and an artist, his area of research being Indian miniature paintings, on which subject he has authored a book. Chakravarty’s paintings are usually visionary landscapes or mythical conundrums executed in a small format with watercolors and utilizing a number of miniature techniques, such as burnished surfaces.


De, Biren (1926 - ): Biren De obtained his diploma in Fine Art from the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Calcutta in 1949. Subsequently he was a lecturer at the College of Art, New Delhi, from 1952-63. In 1959 De was awarded a Fullbright Grant and he spent the following year living and working in New York. He has exhibited widely in India and abroad. Biren De is considered a pioneer of Neo-Tantra art in India and was part of the Neo-Tantra exhibition that traveled in Europe and North America in 1984-6.


DeSouza, Alan (1958 - ): Alan DeSouza was born in Kenya of Indian parents and raised in England. He had his eduation in art and critical studies in the U.K. and the U.S.  Allan is best known as a photographer of social landscapes, where constructed scenarios, often using the artist’s own body refuse, appear through the duplicity of the camera, as inviting landscapes, reminiscent of pristine frontiers waiting to be colonized by the virile masculine imagination. Thus reinscribing himself as “another kind of Indian”,  Allan questions the white mythologies of Euro-America.




Dutta, Biswarup (1951 - ): Biswarup Dutta studied art under Ramananda Bandyopadhyay. He lives and works in Bankura, a seat of traditional culture in Bengal. Influenced by the Bengal School and the folk-inflected images of Jamini Roy, Dutta also incorporates some Neo-Tantric metaphors in his work. His paintings reflect an indigenism of folk or tribal approaches to the commerce between the human and the divine worlds.


Goud, Laxma (1940 - ): After a diploma in drawing and painting from the Government College of Art and Architecture, Hydrabad, in 1963 Laxma Goud studied mural painting and printmaking at M.S. University, Baroda (1963-65). Like F.N. Souza, Goud was interested from the beginning in erotic themes, seeing a sexual undercurrent in all nature. Taking after the movement of indigenism, Goud has sought his subjects among the rustic folk of rural Andhra Pradesh. From the 1970s, Goud turned in his work from an aggressive erotic surrealism to subtler depictions of the rural feminine self, portraying them through the cultivation of an aesthesis based on a subdued but frank animality.


Husain, M.F. (1915- ): Husain is India's most celebrated contemporary artist. He started his painting career in Mumbai in 1937, painting film hoardings for popular cinema. This along with early practice of Islamic calligraphy constituted his initial training in art. Husain became a founding-member of the Progressive Artist's Group (PAG), which was launched in Mumbai in 1947, with the aim of developing a new revolutionary language in art affiliated with European Modernism. Aligning himself with the Nehruvian agenda of secular nation-building, his paintings have sought to create and present modern national myths from a diversity of popular iconic sources, both religious and social.

Kumar, Ram (1924- ): Ram Kumar studied painting in Delhi

under Sailoz Mukherjea and later went to Paris to work in the

studio of Andre Lhote. His early works from this period were

figurative with a leftist leaning but after his return to India, a trip to

Varanasi with M.F. Husian was a turning point towards abstraction. Ram Kumar’s abstract landscapes of the ancient city of Varanasi done

with thick paint in an expressionistic style heralded his entry as a

major contemporary Indian artist and it is as an abstractionist of

landscape that he is best known since then.

Maity, Paresh (1965 - ): While among the younger painters represented here, Paresh Maity has already attained recognition as a major contemporary artist of India. Maity had his art education from the Govt. College of Art and Craft, Calcutta and from the Delhi College of Art. Maity’s earlier work as a watercolorist painting moody monochromatic landscapes earned him instant recognition due to their lyrical intensity. More recently Maity has turned towards surreal arrangements portraying romantic affect through bright and contrasting color saturations.


Menon, Anjolie Ela (1940 - ): Anjolie Ela Menon studied art in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts from 1961-2. She has had numerous solo and group shows in India and abroad and has collected by major museums in many countries. During her travels in Europe she came to develop a sense of the closeness between medieval Byzantine and Roamesque art and the art of India. It is this parallel that inspires much of her haunting imagery. Her paintings are done mostly oil on masonite board and are known for their transparent quality.

Pyne, Ganesh (1937 - ): Ganesh Pyne received his diploma in drawing and painting from the Calcutta Govt. College of Art in 1959. Pyne acknowledges the influence of Bengal School pioneers such as Abanindranath Tagore along with diverse western artists such as Hals, Rembrandt, Paul Klee and Walt Disney. His fantastical creations float in an inner space with the haunting power of disquieting dreams. Pyne’s paintings are typically small, and need leisurely contemplation as with Indian miniatures. He is considered one of India’s foremost contemporary painters.




Qadri, Sohan (1932 - ): Sohan Qadri was initiated at the age of 14 into Yoga and Tantra by Guru Bhikham Giri. Later, he received a Master’s degree in Art from the Govt. College of Art, Simla and taught Art at the postgraduate level in Punjab. Qadri turned early to a Tantric symbolism in his art to express his inner experiences and continues to paint in this mode, having had a well-acclaimed exhibition earlier this year at the Sundaram Gallery in New York. His paintings are among the most convincing experiential records of Tantra. Qadri lives and works in Copenhagen. Denmark.


Raza, S.H. (1922- ): Raza studied painting at the Nagpur School of Art and later at the Sir J.J.

School of Art, Bombay. Along with Husain and others, he was a founding member of the

Progressive Artists’ Group in Bombay in 1947. Paris-based since the 1950s, Raza turned

from an abstract expressionism to the idiom of Neo-Tantra from the 60s and has used its

geometric diagrams to distill experiences of a cosmic and spiritual nature. Raza is a much

celebrated artist, having had numerous international and national exhibitions and been

awarded the Prix de la Critique in Paris in 1956 and the Padma Shri by the President of

India in 1981.


Revri, Anil (1956 - ): Anil Revri, now a diasporic artist from Washington D.C., studied at the Sir J.J. School of Art in Bombay and later at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington D.C. Revri has refined his paintings to a point where he now puts together sophisticated schema composed of dotted, curved and oblique lines which intersect and guide the vision into the experience of an invisible dimension. In alignment with contemporary Washington artists’ speculations with stripes, dots, circles, veils or pours, Revri is equally conversant with the transcendentalist goals of Neo-Tantra.


Santosh, G.R. (1929-1977): Gulam Rasool Santosh studied art at the M.S. University in Baroda. From the 1960s, Santosh became actively involved in the Neo-Tantra movement, and utilized the geometric magical symbolism of Tantra to articulate processes of internal transformation. Santosh’s approach to Neo-Tantra absorbs influences from American psychedelic and Op art and presents the play between external and internal structures of experience. While subtly couched in the language of sexual union, according to Santosh this union is not physical but a micro-cosmic representation of the reproductive energy of the Universe.


Tewari, Vasundhara (1955 - ): Tewari finished her senior Fellowship at College Of Arts , Delhi University in 1998. During this period, she not only participated in several exhibitions but also evolved as an artist. Since that time, Tewari’s art has moved through several phases. Using mainly acrylic on paper, her visions of the modern Indian working woman’s inner life and power have led to more recent commentaries which combine a social dimension with an exploration of the interface between inner and outer worlds.


 Vaikuntham, T. (1941 - ):  T. Vaikuntham studied at the College of Fine Arts, Hyderabad and later, under K.G. Subramanian at the M.S. University, Baroda. Vaikuntham is known for his paintings in tempera and water-colour on paper, which are deeply rooted in the rural Andhra soil of South India. Vaikunthan uses juxtapositions of brilliant primary colors and fluid lines to express his monumental traditional figures. Vaikunthan’s men and women remain rooted to their soil and, in spite of their eccentric or exotic appearance, negotiate modernity from a regional vantage.