80 Jamini Roy works to go public for first time

Dhoomimal Gallery to host 42-day show of 20th-century master from Friday

New Delhi, Jan 27: Art buffs will get their first-ever view of 80 works of Jamini Roy, as an exhibition of the 20th-century master is opening in the capital this Friday, unveiling a set of drawings and paintings that had remained part of a private collection.
The 42-day show at Dhoomimal Gallery will feature Jamini Roy’s drawings and paintings from more than a half-century-old assemblage of Uma and Ravi Jain Estate which owns Delhi’s oldest gallery.
Curated by critic-scholar Uma Nair, the works at January 29-March 10 ‘Carved Contours’ represent Roy’s inspiration from the Kalighat and Pat traditions of Bengal. Done on cloth, board and paper, they feature simple monumental images of sari-clad women, village dancers and domestic animals besides Madonna and Christ and the famed Ramayan series.
“All of it eminently exemplifies his strikingly formalist pictorial language,” notes the curator.
The exhibition, which opens at 6 pm, is a collateral event of the India Art Fair 2016.
Uma Jain said the collection happened least with the aim of creating a portfolio. “. It was about taste, about building a collection out of one’s own passion,” she added.
Roy (1887-1972), who was a frontline pupil of iconic Abanindranath Tagore, developed a style that scholars note was a reaction against the Bengal School and Western tradition of art. He abandoned the use of European paints in favour of mineral and vegetable-based pigments made from rock-dust, tamarind seeds, alluvial mud and indigo, notes Uma Nair.
“Jamini’s admiration for rural folk art was politically motivated. It was part of a nationalistic desire to find an artistic style free from colonialism,” she added. “His works of men and women explore the economy of line, the beauty of gesture and the compositional clarity of the frontal perspective.”
At ‘Carved Contours’, the curator has come up with the Jamini works in clusters, suiting the ambience marked by the gallery’s high ceiling. “There are drawings on one wall, and the coloured ones on the other,” she pointed out.

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