Art landscape from the post Independence era

National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi has organised an exhibition, displaying selected art-works from the post Independence era focusing more on the contemporary period.

In continuity with the narrative of the permanent display, few milestones in the art landscape from the post Independence era have been selected from the in-house collection of National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, to revisit the tales frozen in these landmarks.

The exodus of artistic fervor and vision from rural to urban spaces that started after the Independence of our nation in 1947, brought in a new lease of life to the artistic creations. This is the time which witnessed the formation of various artist collectives named after the urban centre of their origin. These centres represented by their artists produced an artistic language that was a synthesis of traditional Indian art with the international artistic trends such as impressionism and expressionism.

One of the significant collectives was the "Bombay Progressive Artists Group" started by artists such M F Husain, SH Raza, F N Souza, K H Ara, H A Gade and S Bakre. Artists such as Manishi Dey, Ram Kumar, Akbar Padamshee and Tyeb Mehta also joined the group. The monumental canvas on display, titled, 'Zamin' by M F Husain portrays the relationship of the famer with the soil he tills, in an abstract and angular style which will formulate his

signature way of expression in his future works. The triptych popularly called 'Shantiniketan' by Tyeb Mehta, also takes a folk event of sacrifice that took place during his stay in Shantiniketan, to form his own allegory of life.

The emancipation of woman always occupied a central theme of many woman artists of this period. It all started from an echo which can be traced back to the paintings of Amrita Sher-Gil, where the melancholy of the indecisiveness about the near future reflected in the eyes of the women that took centre stage on her canvases could be seen.

Now, the woman from this submissive and tragic victim portrayed in many artworks, is elevated and celebrated as a supreme power, reflected in the works of Arpana Caur and Anjolie Ela Menon. Arpana Caur is one of the first artists, who collaborated with indigenous folk artisans of Warli (Thane District, Maharashtra) to successfully transform her visions into her paintings.

With a different approach, sculptor Latika Katt, uses a traditional imagery of the burnt remains of a funeral pyre, titled, 'Arthi', to evoke the feeling of 'momento mori' inside the viewer.

There are around 60 art-works on display which includes paintings, sculptures and prints.

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