Who is Jamini Roy?
Jamini Roy is an Indian painter, who was passionate about Indian folk art. Through the course of his career, he moved away from the influences of European styles of art and focussed on his Indian roots. He strived towards making his art accessible to the masses and maintained a low price for his work.
How did he become an artist?
Jamini Roy hails from a rural village in Bengal called Bankura, an area which is especially rich in the folk art tradition. His formal training at the Government School of Art in Calcutta began in 1903 and his career went mostly unnoticed. After graduating, Roy’s paintings employed the techniques of the Bengal which went unnoticed.
Jamini Roy also struggled with poverty during the time he was searching for his own unique style, surviving on whatever odd-jobs he could find to pay for food. He finally found his inspiration back in rural Bengal in the form of Kalighat Pat. In 1921 he began a phase of experimentation with tribal art techniques and living folk subjects subjects.
His works show the influence of the Bengal School of art. He used bold, sweeping strokes to later depict everyday rural life in Bengal. In the mid-30s, Roy shifted from painting on canvas and moved to materials like cloth, mats and wood. He began to use natural colours made from mud and flowers instead of European paints.
By the 1930’s Roy abandoned the canvas altogether and began making his own surfaces upon which he created his masterpieces. It was then that his stellar career took off and continued well into the 1960’s. One of Jamini Roy’s motivation for creating art was that he wanted art to be accessible to the middle class. His work began to gave Indian art its a new identity because it approached the flat perspective common in folk art with a modern perspective. It is celebrated by art lovers in India as well as Europe and the rest of the world. Jamini Roy was presented with the Padma Shri in 1955 for his work.
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