Signed in Tamil (lower centre) and dated in English (lower left)
Watercolour on paper pasted on board
10.5 in x 8.5 in | 26.7 cm x 21.6 cm
'Bangladesh Drawings', Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, 2010
K.G. Subramanyan is among the few artists who have explored the possibilities of modern art from a different perspective, giving new dimensions to the human figure by making them appear more as characters from various myths and traditional narratives, populating a composition quite the contrary. As an artist he is extraordinarily versatile, cherishing the facility to work in diverse media, sizes, and techniques over a stylistic conformity to a single medium, genre, size, technique, and manner of visualization.
A prolific writer, scholar, teacher and art historian, Subramanyan uses his in-depth knowledge of various artistic traditions to create fantastical images of wit and eroticism that are universal in their appeal, yet coupled with iconic symbols drawn from Indian legends and folklore. Subramanyan has time and again aimed at blurring the boundaries between art and the artisan. The artist has also dabbled in glass painting and toy making, even weaving, which is generally considered ‘artisanal’. Even in his written works, the exploration of art as a language or means of communication is a recurring theme. Subramanyan has also illustrated as well as authored fiction for children.
His suite of work Bangladesh Drawings is a set of intimate sketches done on paper soon after his visit to the country are evocative of a genre that is seldom used these days. The black and white 'notes' as it were, are vignettes of pastoral landscapes that Subramanyan is so well known for. They recall the lush landscape with paddy fields and tall palms which he glimpsed as he drove through the country and despite their small scale, they are a powerful image of a country and its people, all in black and white.
Born in 1924, in Kerala, Subramanyan studied under the tutelage of Benode Behari Mukherjee, Nandalal Bose and Ramkinkar Baij at Santiniketan. He graduated from Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati University, there in 1948 after receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the Presidency College in Chennai. In 1955, he received a British Council Research Fellowship to the Slade School of Art at the University of London.
Subramanyan lives and works in Baroda.