Exhibition takes a journey to the roots of Jamini Roy’s art

Jamini Roy, the eminent Bengali artist, counted among the early modernists of twentieth century Indian art, is being featured in a new exhibition in Mumbai at the National Gallery of Modern Art.

  • Titled ‘Jamini Roy (1887 – 1972): Journey to the Roots’, the exhibition is curated by art historian and comprises 200 artworks that chart the development of the artist’s unique aesthetic and visual language.

About Jamini Roy:

  • He was born in 1887 in Beliatore village in Bankura, West Bengal.
  • He was among the significant Indian artists to forge a visual style that was both modern in its sensibilities and resolutely Indian.

  • He was trained in European naturalism.
  • Roy adopted the simplification of the forms, the bold, flat colours and the medium, material and themes of local folk paintings.
  • He discarded expensive canvas and oil paint and opted for the more inexpensive material and medium of the folk artist.
  • He rendered images from Ramayana and Krishna Lila. He painted ordinary men and women from the village, reinventing popular images from the patua’s repertoire.
  • Jamini Roy restricted his palette to seven colours- Indian red, yellow ochre, cadmium green, vermillion, grey, blue and white. These were mostly earthy or mineral colours.

  • The Santhals, tribal people who live in the rural districts of Bengal, were an important subject for Roy.
  • A series of works done a decade before World War II is a prime example of how he captured the qualities that are a part of native folk painting and combined them with those of his own.
  • He fused the minimal brush strokes of the Kalighat style with elements of tribal art from Bengal (like that of the terracotta work found in the Bishnupur temple, where terracotta was often composed into elaborate, decorative units over portals and across exterior walls of the temples).

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, ngmaindia.gov.in.

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