A list of 12 In­dian artists you should bank on in 2017


IIn the art world we go through cy­cles of dis­cov­ery as the field broad­ens. These are artists who have tasted fame and suc­cess at vary­ing stages in their lives but who are be­ing re­vived by a new au­di­ence and in new cu­ra­to­rial set­tings. I have cho­sen these twelve be­cause while they may have had recog­ni­tion from noted mu­se­ums and top col­lec­tors, they are far more ac­ces­si­ble price­wise and of­fer great bar­gains for the time be­ing.

Sadanand Bakre, 1920-2007

Bakre was one of the found­ing mem­bers of the Pro­gres­sive Artists’ Group, known for his in­no­va­tive sculpt­ing tech­niques. His sculpture is com­plex and rev­e­la­tory but yet im­mensely af­ford­able.

Prab­hakar Barwe, 1936-1995

Prab­hakar Barwe ex­plored the mul­ti­tudes of aes­thet­ics and im­age mak­ing. By bal­anc­ing form and colour, he ex­plored the re­la­tion­ships be­tween ob­jects and ideas, giv­ing his paint­ings a gen­tle lyri­cism.

Jy­oti Bhatt, b. 1934

Jy­oti Bhatt is best known for his mod­ernist work in print­mak­ing and pho­tog­ra­phy. His pho­to­graphs have been ac­quired by the Tate Mod­ern and show won­der­ful ex­per­i­men­ta­tion with com­po­si­tion and form.

Prabud­dha Das­gupta, 1956-2012

Also from an artis­tic family (his par­ents were sculp­tors Pro­dosh and Ka­mala Das Gupta) his works dis­solved any bound­aries be­tween the dis­ci­plines of art, fash­ion and pho­tog­ra­phy. This self-taught artist was ac­knowl­edged by Yves Saint Lau­rent for his tal­ent early in his ca­reer.

Adi Davier­walla, 1922-1975

Adi Davier­walla is an­other self-taught sculp­tor and con­sid­ered one of the best mod­ern In­dian artists of his gen­er­a­tion. Draw­ing from Greek mythol­ogy and Chris­tian sym­bol­ism, he pro­duced a stun­ning body of work in ad­di­tion to metic­u­lous draw­ings and pho­to­graphs.

Madan Ma­hatta, 1932-2014

Madan Ma­hatta an ar­chi­tec­tural pho­tog­ra­pher; his ar- chive is full of these na­tion-build­ing projects. In his stills he cap­tures ab­stract com­po­si­tions of con­crete and glass yet also com­ments pow­er­fully on In­dia’s con­struc­tions as a pre­em­i­nent ar­chi­tec­tural critic.

Mri­nalini Mukher­jee, 1949-2015

Mri­nalini Mukher­jee was born into artis­tic roy­alty as the daugh­ter of greats Ben­ode Be­hari and Leela Mukher­jee. Be­ing a pain­ter and sculp­tor, she has a unique voice in con­tem­po­rary In­dian art and is best known for her knot­ted, macramé sculp­tures with hemp ropes.

Jeram Pa­tel, 1930-2016

Jeram Pa­tel be­came one of In­dia’s lead­ing ab­strac­tion­ists from the late 1950s and 1960s on­wards with in­no­va­tive tech­niques us­ing blow­torches, burnt wood and colour. The Ki­ran Nadar Mu­seum of Art just hosted a ma­jor ret­ro­spec­tive of his work last year to rave re­views.

Nagji Pa­tel, b. 1937

Nagji Pa­tel has been in­flu­enced by the ru­ral set­tings of his home­land of­ten de­picted by his favourite theme of an­i­mals in his su­perla­tive sculp­tures.

Piloo Pochkhanawala, 1923-1986

Women artists prac­tis­ing in In­dia in the mid-20th cen­tury were scarce and Piloo Pochkhanawala was one of the rare women sculp­tors at the time. Self-taught, she em­ployed a va­ri­ety of me­dia including wood, metal and stone.

Kr­ishna Reddy, b. 1935

Kr­ishna Reddy, a sculp­tor and print­maker, pi­o­neered the colour vis­cos­ity process achiev­ing a spec­tac­u­lar in­ten­sity. His prints of­ten in semi-ab­stracted and ab­stracted form ex­plore sub­jects from na­ture to hu­man fig­ures, all with a nod to the spir­i­tual realm. This year he was fea­tured in a joint ex­hi­bi­tion with Za­rina Hashmi at The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Mu­seum of Art in New York.

Raghu­bir Singh, 1942-1999

Raghu­bir Singh is one of In­dia’s best known pho­tog­ra­phers, well known for his land­scapes and doc­u­men­tary style pic­tures in the small-for­mat street pho­tog­ra­phy tra­di­tion. He was a pi­o­neer in rein­vent­ing the use of colour in pho­tog­ra­phy. He was deeply in­flu­enced by Mughal minia­tures and the Ben­gal School. At the Smith­so­nian In­sti­tu­tion in Wash­ing­ton DC in 2003, I fell in love with his evo­ca­tion of the In­dia coun­try­side through the lens of the Am­bas­sador au­to­mo­bile.

DIVINE FORM Mri­nalini Mukher­jee’s, Sri (De­ity) left; Kr­ishna Reddy sculp­tures (above)

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