For 11th April, Google is paying special tribute to one of the big names in 20th century Indian art, Jamini Roy (11 April 1887 – 24 April 1972) on his 130th birth anniversary by sketching an eye-catching Doodle inspired by his Black Horse painting.
I was one of the lucky ones to see Roy’s original works in April 2015 at National Gallery Of Modern Art (NGMA), Bangalore in an exhibition titled ‘Jamini Roy 1887-1972: Journey to the Roots’. The exhibition showcased around 200 artworks of Jamini Roy, including paintings, sculptures, drawings and sketches. I remember being particularly inspired by his rough sketches on small pieces of paper and sketchbooks, some of which he later turned into big colorful paintings. These really gave a glimpse into the working of an artistic mind.
Jamini Roy’s first exhibition was held in 1929 at the premises of the Government School of Art, Calcutta and inaugurated by Alfred H. Watson, Editor, The Statesman, Calcutta. I especially love this excerpt from Watson’s inaugural speech that day in 1929. The message still rings true today:
“Art in any form cannot progress without encouragement. The artist must live and he must live by the sale of his work. In India, as elsewhere, the days when the churches and the princes were the patrons of art have passed. Encouragement today must come from a wider circle, I would say to those who have money to spare buy Indian art with courage. You may obtain some things of little worth; you may, on the other hand, acquire cheaply something that is destined to have great value. What does it matter whether you make mistakes or not. By encouraging those who are striving to give in line and colour a fresh expression to Indian thought you are helping forward a movement that we all hope is destined to add a fresh lustre to the country.” – ALFRED H WATSON at the inauguration of Jamini Roy’s debut show in 1929.
Anyway, seeing Google pay tribute today energized me into painting our French Bulldog in Jamini Roy’s quintessential style. Mine is hardly a masterpiece but it’s a heartfelt tribute nevertheless. Hope you like it!
Further Reading About Jamini Roy’s Bankura Horse:
The “bankura” horse recurs throughout the folk and craft traditions of Jamini Roy’s native Bankura region of West Bengal. In the present lot, Jamini Roy captures the colours and vibrancy of the traditional art of the region. Manasij Majumdar writes that Roy “often preferred to make images with bare minimal content and a rich formalist handling. Even when he treated a motif comprising two or more figures, he always eschewed all inessential representational details to move towards extreme simplification of the basic form, defined by smooth easy curved brush strokes most often in black or dark Indian red… the motifs are evoked on a flat pictorial space structured and defined not with colours but with the splendid pictorial finality of fluent, curved and bold lines. What strikes the viewer instantly is not any theme as such but forms and figures with a striking finesse of lineal elegance. Their expressiveness lies not in any subtle, complex or elaborate thematic statement but in their rigorous simplicity, scrupulous elimination of naturalism and simple myth-like evocativeness.” (Manasij Majumdar, “Jamini Roy – Modernism’s Nationalist Face,” Jamini Roy: National Art Treasure, Kolkata: Purba, 2015, p. 5