Saturday February 16, 2019

Contemporary Indian paintings: Western style, national sentiments!


By Adita Mehta


Painting is a very powerful source of expression. Indian paintings have a very long tradition and history in Indian art. Indian art originated about five thousand years ago, sometime during the peak of the Indus Valley civilization.Though there is no definite proof of its inception, it is believed that the oldest paintings are the wall art of the Bhimbetka caves in Madhya Pradesh. As said by Picasso, “Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” Indian paintings can be classified as murals and miniatures.

Murals are aesthetic tasks executed on walls. Some such examples include paintings in Ajanta and Kailasanatha. These paintings were discovered in south-west India. Miniature paintings are those which are executed on small scale and on perishable material and not many are found today. Rajasthani and Mughal paintings are the examples of such paintings.

In Indian context, paintings served the purpose of documentation, demonstration and communication.

Indian paintings have become quite popular both at national as well as international levels. Colours play a major role in Indian paintings.  Indian art is known for using bold colours and colour symbolism in their paintings. Like red and saffron for valor, yellow for religion, black for evil and white for purity.

Indian history, which influenced art, is divided into four main periods:

Ancient era: Rock paintings and temple art can be traced back to the artistic expressions of ancient India.

Islamic ascendency: With the establishment of Islamic states, there was a gradual Muslim conquest in India. It led to the emergence of Mughal empire which ruled majority of India from 16th to mid 19th century. During Islamic rule, Mughal style of architecture flourished.

Colonial era  This era marks the time when European powers, through conquest and trade, were at their peak in India. By mid 19th century, British India was born under the governance of the British Empire. During this time, Bengal school of Art was established; also western style was introduced in Indian art.saif

Independence and post colonial era: After rule under the British Raj, India became independent on  August 15, 1947. During this time, ancient India was bifurcated due to partition, resulting in the formation of Pakistan and today’s India.  The post-colonial period saw the rise of many Indian artistes who pushed artistic boundaries, resulting in what we call contemporary art today.

With the changing time, Indian art blended with the West. Contemporary Indian paintings are deeply influenced by western concepts of sublime composition and the mystery hidden behind the painting. The most interesting thing about contemporary Indian painting is that its style is inspired by the western concept but its themes are associated with Indian mythology, Hindu god, emotions etc.

Next Story

South Asian ‘Truck Art’ has Become Global Phenomenon, Inspires Gallery Exhibitions abroad

For the truck drivers picking the right color or animal portrait for the designs that are often about local pride is tougher than the countless hours spent on the road

South Asian truck art
Workers unload fruit from a decorated truck at the wholesale produce market in Faisalabad, Pakistan. VOA
  • South Asian “truck art” has inspired gallery exhibitions abroad, even prompted stores in posh London neighborhoods to sell miniature pieces
  • For the drivers, the designs that turn decades-old vehicles into moving murals are often about local pride
  • Truck art has become one of Pakistan’s best-known cultural exports

Islamabad, Pakistan, June 14, 2017: They pollute the roads and chug along at a snail’s pace, but to their Pakistani owners the rickety trucks are moving pieces of art, commanding attention with garish portraits of flowers, Islamic art and snow-capped Himalayan peaks.

South Asian “truck art” has become a global phenomenon, inspiring gallery exhibitions abroad and prompting stores in posh London neighbourhoods to sell flamboyant miniature pieces. Yet closer to home, some people sneer and refuse to call it “art.”

For the drivers, the designs that turn decades-old vehicles into moving murals are often about local pride. Picking the right color or animal portrait is tougher than the countless hours spent on the road.

[bctt tweet=”For the drivers, the designs that turn decades-old vehicles into moving murals are often about local pride.” username=”NewsGramdotcom”]

Truck driver Haji Ali Bahadur, from the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, said green and yellow have been his colors of choice during 40 years behind the wheel.

ALSO READ: Delhi Food Truck Festival: 2-Day Food extravaganza brings an array of Local, National and International Cuisines

“We, the drivers of Khyber, Mohmand and other tribal regions like flowers on the edge of the vehicles,” he said. “The people of Swat, South Waziristan and Kashmir region like portraits of mountains and different wild animals.”

Truck art has become one of Pakistan’s best known cultural exports, and offshoot toy and furniture industries have been spawned closer to home.

With Pakistan’s economy picking up speed and new roads opening up trade routes to China, truck art may soon find new admirers abroad. (VOA)