Jamini Roy (1887-1972)

Born in a small village in Beliatore, Bankura district, West Bengal, Jamini Royjoined the Government School of Art, Kolkata in 1903. He began his career bypainting in the Post-Impressionist genre of landscapes and portraits, very muchin keeping with his training in a British academic system. Yet, by 1925, Roy hadbegun experimenting along the lines of popular bazaar paintings sold outside theKalighat temple in Kolkata. By the early 1930s, Roy made a complete switch toindigenous materials to paint on woven mats, cloth and wood coated with lime.The inspiration for painting on woven mats was the textures he found in Byzantineart, which he had seen in color photographs. It occurred to him that painting on awoven mat might make for an interesting mosaic-like surface.Roy’s rejection of the then modern style of painting and his foray into the realm ofBengali folk paintings marked a new beginning in the history of Indian modern art.The mother and child, Radha, and animals were painted in simple two-dimensionalforms, with flat color application and an emphasis on the lines. The main subjectswere often enclosed within decorative borders with motifs in the background. Thefigure of the Christ was also a subject that Roy often painted.Roy held several one-man exhibitions and numerous group shows. His works canbe found in several private and public collections, institutions and museums all overthe world, including the Lalit Kala Academy in Delhi and museums in Germany andthe United States of America.He was honored with the Padma Bhushan in 1955. Jamini Roy died – in Kolkata,where he had lived all his life.

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