Woman in Red
Jamini Roy (1887 - 1972) was a formally trained artist in India, one of the most famous pupils of Abanindranath Tagore the founder of the Bengal School of Painting whose contribution to the emergence of modern art in India is unquestionable. He encouraged Jamini Roy to turn to the folk art idiom of his native Bengal which he did with remarkable success, tapping into deep artistic impulses which sprang from his early childhood years in the Birbhum district of rural, and then undivided Bengal.
He is known for the simple yet sophisticated forms and flat surfaces adopted from folk paintings, and discarding expensive canvas and paint, he opted for the inexpensive materials and mediums of the local folk paintings. The almost calligraphic lines recall the work of the Kalighat Patuas and are recognizable instantly. His subject matter was usually images from Indian Mythology and the Ramayana and Krishna Lila. He also painted ordinary men and women from the villages reinventing popular images from the Kalighat Patua’s repertoire of the day, ultimately, restricting himself to using only seven colors derived from earthy and mineral sources - Indian red, yellow ochre, cadmium green, vermillion, grey, blue and white.
As a teenager, I was privileged to visit his studio once or twice, and watched him at work. This experience made a great impression on me. In his old age, he worked with his son and assistants who later carried on with work in his inimitable style of painting. I have tried to copy his fluidity of line and simplicity of colors in attempting to paint my versions of some of his most loved paintings to try and offer a small tribute to his genius.