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Jamini Roy

Jamini Roy was an Indian painter. He was honoured with the state award of Padma Bhushan in 1954. He was one of the most famous pupils of Abanindranath Tagore, whose artistic capabilities and contribution to the emergence of art and India remains unquestionable and unparalleled.

He was born on 11th April 1887 into a moderately prosperous family of landowners in Beliatore village of Bankura district, West Bengal. He was raised in an average, art-loving household which ultimately influenced his future decisions.

When he was 16, he was sent to study at the Government college of art, Kolkata. Abanindranath Tagore, the founder of Bengal School was vice-principal at this institution. He was taught to paint in the prevailing academic tradition of drawing classical nudes and painting in oils and in 1908 he received his diploma in fine art.

However, he soon realised that he needed to draw inspiration not from western traditions but his own culture and so he looked to the living folk and tribal art for inspiration. He was most influenced by the Kalighat painting, which was a style of art with bold sweeping brush strokes. He moved away from his earlier impression is landscapes and portraits between 1921 and 1924 began his first period of experimentation with the Santhal dance.

Jamini Roy began his career as a commissioned portrait painter. Somewhat abruptly in the early 1920s, he gave up commissioned portrait painting to discover his art.

Roy changed style and featured a new style based on Bengali folk traditions. Roy is also described as an art machine because he produced 20000 paintings in his lifetime, which is about 10 paintings daily.

 Roy believed that the ordinary people were more important than governments because they were the voice of his art. His underlying quest was to make art accessible to a wider section of people and also to give Indian art its own identity. Roy’s paintings were exhibited for the first time in the British India Street of Calcutta in 1938.

During 1946, his popularity touched new highs with the Bengali middle class and the European community becoming his main clientele. In 1946 his work was exhibited in London and 1953 in New York, his work has been exhibited extensively in international exhibitions and can be found in many private and public collections.

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