Laxma Goud was born in
1940 in Andhra Pradesh. Receiving a diploma from the Government College
of Fine Arts & Architecture, Hyderabad, he went on to study mural
painting and print-making in Baroda. As a master draftsman, Laxma Goud
displays a versatility over a range of mediums - from etching, gouache,
pastels and water colours to glass paintings.
This, most earthy or artists, grounds his work in the rural world and
its tribal vivacity. His figures, strongly delineated, flow with a power
made all the more strong by the naturalness of their setting, the casual
abandon of their sexuality. There is eroticism and poetry in his work.
There is laughter and playfulness and a strong imprint of his personal
Which is not to say that Laxma Goud has limited his scope to a particular
genre. He has experimented with many mediums, different themes, stylistic
variations, but through them all run an air of fecundity, of profusion
- a virility emerging from the natural. He seems to have made it his endeavour
to take away from his works any refining of what is raw and rustic - and
instead presents figures whose sensuality seem to be integral to their
being - as much them, as any part of their body or any thought in their
mind. The gods of his creations are the gods of nature, the primal forces
at the heart of all worship.
In this manner he has achieved a form of poetry, entirely his own - a
form of poetry that one can almost touch, so palpable are his works. And
the story-line in this work of art, as told to us by Laxma Goud, the raconteur,
runs using the human species as also the world of animals as his subjects,
undeviating, right through for us to read, as well as to see and admire.
in 1936, Suhas Roy initially studied at the Indian College of Draughtsmanship,
Kolkata. In Paris he went to the Atelier 17 of William Hayter and then
the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts. On his return to India,
he was appointed Head of the Graphic Department at his old school, the
College of Draughtsmanship. His life then led him to Kala Bhavan in Santiniketan
where he headed the Painting Department and from where he retired in 1996.
He now lives and works in Kolkata.
During his pilgrimage in search of his own particular expression, Suhas
Roy painted and sketched using different mediums and different subjects.
His 'Christ' series are remarkable as are his landscapes. But his greatest
contribution to Indian art is his 'Radha' series - of which he has created
almost six hundred in oil, acrylic, pastel and charcoal. She, his princess,
emerges from woods and trees and foliage as also from the humdrum of everyday
life. She could be a woman walking down the street or selling vegetables
next door, but wherever she is, Suhas Roy will extract from her the essence
of her womanhood. This ability to distil what is the heart of his Radha,
stems from the control he has been able to exercise on the creative force
within him- a force that breathes life into his most famous series. On
her, this heavenly, dream-like female, he showers his enormous talent.
Here, the romantic in his nature is fed and built upon by the craftsman
in him and emerging from this is a melancholic, luminous, dream-like figure
which some would call archetypal Indian womanhood. We see tenderness,
gentility and grace in these figures, which touch our emotions but never
drown our intellectual senses in the syrup of sentimentality.
In fact, the refinement of his brushwork presents itself to one seeking
and demanding recognition and of course, admiration.
From his myriad works we see a confirmation of his belief that all painting
has to be beautiful. But nevertheless, there is to this beauty, a detached
quality which removes its earthliness and instills instead a touch of
eternal grace similar to the pre-Raphaelites of Britain in the early twentieth
Lalu Prosad Shaw was
born in 1937 and studied at the Government College of Arts & Craft,
Kolkata. A Professor of Graphic Art at Kala Bhavan, Santineketan, his
works have been exhibited both in India and abroad.
In Lalu Prosad Shaw we have a most gifted artist as also a print-maker.
He has managed to create a synthesis - which some rightly call seamless
- of many different styles and reduced them to simple, sophisticated works
of art. This may seem to the casual observer to be not a difficult task
but in fact requires a level far above the ordinary of both aesthetic
judgement and linear facility.
His graphic work is modern, not only in his brilliant handling of technique
but also in his imagery, which ranges from the abstract to the expressionist.
On the other hand in his tempera paintings, Shaw reaches out (but not
back) to the traditions of the Bengal School and even further to the 19th
century Company School. However, one cannot but remark on the influence
of not only the traditional Kalighat pat but also of the Ajanta paintings.
The results are elegant, sometimes understated, always sophisticated creations,
pleasing not only to the eye but to the intellect of the discerning viewer.
One sees an array of work, taken from nature as also from the Bengali
middle class, which he depicts not only with an obvious affection but
also with a wry sense of humour. These highly stylized paintings show
the physical characteristics of the subject, so gracefully, simply and
so surely stated that one can but stand up and applaud.
His works as a result have found a place in the permanent collections
of the National Museum of Modern Art, New Delhi, the Birla Academy of
Art & Culture, Kolkata and the Singapore Art Museum amongst several
other prestigious public and private collections in India and abroad.
K.G. Subramanyan is a
painter, muralist, sculptor, toy-maker, illustrator. He is also an intellect
known for his original thought and an insightful author on Art. Born in
1924, he studied at Kala Bhavan, Viswa Bharati, Santiniketan and at the
Slade School of Art, London. He spent many years as Professor of Painting
both in Baroda as well as in Santiniketan and later as Professor Emeritus
at Viswa Bharati. This is not to mention the numerous other positions
he has held in allied areas of interest.
It is difficult to encapsulate K.G Subramanyan, either as a man or as
an artist - so varied are his interests and so deep is his intellectual
capacity. No wonder that he is considered one of the masters - in fact
a doyen of Indian art. For example, take reverse paintings - an old art
form almost obsolete before it became a passion of his in the 70s. Into
it he breathed not only a new life but also a new language - inimitably
his own - vibrant, alive, contemporary. His glass paintings, he has suggested
may be called his 'bazaar' work. They are, he says, midway between 'the
deliberate and the spontaneous,' which is at the heart of his technique
in glass painting.
Of his views on art, 'there are many things I consider fundamental to
my art activity - emotions, inspirations, the inner landscape of my heart,
agonies, enthusiasm and such psychological minutiae that I don't feel
comfortable talking about. This is not because I do not consider them
significant but because I feel they are sullied and made smaller by analysis
What more needs to be added, in fact dare be added after these words?
How can we 'sully' what he does not want with our comparatively puny intellect.
Let it rest then with the statement that the enormous force of his feelings,
metamorphoses into his works and explodes through any medium in which
he is working, to present painting after painting, work after work, which
is vibrant and shimmering with the energy he has bestowed on it. And in
this great profusion, this out-pouring, there is wisdom and also wit,
lyricism yet simplicity, cerebral yet touching. Yes, truly a work of Art.
Born in 1939, Jogen Chowdhury
studied at the Government College of Arts & Craft, Kolkata and in
Paris at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts and Atelier 17
of William Hayter. In 1972, Jogen moved to Delhi as the curator of the
art collection at Rashtrapati Bhavan and in 1987 was appointed Professor
of Painting at Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan.
However, his greatest learning has been the long journey of his career
in search of a personal vocabulary, his very own identity. To achieve
this he has looked for and found inspiration from Indian sources - Pata
paintings and Alpona work of rural Bengal.
But these methods and styles have been used and then mutated to his own
thinking and beyond that, to his own belief. This belief, rooted in political
upheaval and coloured by his cultural background, lent a pall of gloom
over his earlier work. As he began to put that part of his being into
the background of his artistic life, he emerged from this inner darkness
- and as his art grew more personalised, so did the persona of the artist
mature and ripen.
Oil is perhaps not his medium of choice. He says he has a spontaneous
feel for works in ink, but for oils he has to get involved. So into his
line drawings and fine tracery of 'cross-hatching' we look for his greatest
expansion as an artist. There is, in these works a sinuous, almost sinister
grace. Coiled into them is a hint of eroticism - tumescence and flaccidity
vie side by side. You see willful distortion of plants and leaves, arms
and torsos, giving them a voluptuousness and fecundity, which is most
sensual. The works, however 'still' they may be are never 'at rest'. There
is a vibration in his art that goes far beyond just the visual effect
and can only have emerged from the totality of his painting and the tension
created therein. To look at his work, pre-conceived ideas must be discarded,
intellectual dissection put aside. Then when the sensory faculties are
let loose, one can begin to absorb the many facets of this great talent.
There is a Sufi in Manjit
Bawa and also a lover - be it of Punjabi folk music, bucolic images, Pahari
miniatures, forms of animals or flowers, human beings or religious icons.
But these are separate entities, different from one another. How then,
does he put them together - what is the melding process that the man has
to go through to eventually emerge as this formidable artist?
He studied at the Delhi School of Art, New Delhi, The London School of
Painting, UK and taught at the Institute of Adult Education in England,
where he worked as a silk-screen printer. He was a visiting lecturer in
the Delhi College of Art. Here are bald facts. But how his restless spirit
converted the picture, the image in his mind through the techniques he
had studied and used and blended them into his personal iconography, is
a walk through the life of the artist. In seeking this coherence - as
he says, is like the musician trying to put 'disjointed strains of music'
into a symphony - he walked many paths.
The quest, laborious, painstaking, yielded its fruit eventually. He attained
at last, the flat background he was looking for and alongside, his forms
began to emerge - recognisable but in a stylised form essentially his
own. But none of that would have been complete without his vision - a
meld of philosophy and religion, folk tales and the great Indian epics.
The icons he uses are apparent - but he says they are also himself. And
in tying himself into them, or perhaps them into himself, there has emerged
an inner serenity, a peacefulness which enhances the mere solitariness
of his figures.
He says, and he quotes Jogen Chowdhury in doing so, that stillness creates
its own great tension - this aesthetic tension is vital in any work of
art. So when one looks at Manjit Bawa's works, one sees not just a figure
that is at that moment still but the vibration running through the artist
in anticipation of the movement which is latent in the subject. To understand
this is to begin to recognise the depth of his works.