Dhoomimal Gallery gives peek to 80 Jamini Roy works for first time Bureaucrat Amitabh Kant hails 20th-C master’s show as a ‘real treasure’


 

New Delhi, Feb 6: Ever since their making more than half a century ago, the artworks remained unseen for the public. Today, those Jamini Roy drawings and paintings are on their debut display in the capital.

No less than 80 visual compositions of the 20th-century master are being exhibited at Dhoomimal Gallery in downtown Connaught Place, as top bureaucrat Amitabh Kant formally inaugurated the show brimming with aesthetics that hitherto remained accessible to its keepers: Uma and Ravi Jain Estate.

“This is an unbelievable collection; it’s a real treasure,” said Kant, who is a 1980-batch IAS officer, about the exhibition ‘Carved Contours’ curated by art scholar-columnist Uma Nair. “Jamini Roy made Indian art recognizable the world over. A disciple of the iconic Abanindranath Tagore (1871-1951), he broke away from the Western approach of his contemporaries, thus turning a chapter in the art of this country.”

Kant who is Secretary to the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion and

Chairman of Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation, also released on Friday evening a catalogue of the works at the exhibition that will run till March 10. Many of the drawings and paintings are more than seven decades old.

The 110-page book, brought out by Dhoomimal Gallery, carries a foreword by veteran Uma Jain and curatorial note by Uma Nair and a couple of art write-ups besides a brief biography of Jamini and the images of all his works at ‘Carved Contours’. The 1936-established Dhoomimal is India’s oldest gallery, now celebrating its 80th year.

Uma Jain pointed out that these Jamini works “are in perfect condition”. Also, “they have the features of rarity, they vary in quality and have a wide perspective of content,” she said.

Curator Uma Nair noted that Jamini Roy (1887-1972)—as India’s first modernist master—was particularly inspired by the Kalighat and Pat paintings of rural Bengal. “For him, they possessed the spontaneity and simplicity of line he was striving for. Roy abandoned the use of European paints in favour of mineral- and vegetable-based pigments made from rock-dust, tamarind seeds, alluvial mud and indigo,” she added.

What’s more, the artist’s admiration for rural folk art was politically-motivated. “It was part of a nationalist desire to find an artistic style free from colonialism. Thus, Roy developed his own striking formalist pictorial language” said Nair.

This show has a series of simple monumental images of sari-clad women, village dancers and domestic animals besides Madonna and Christ and the famed Ramayan series, besides a string of drawings that have been categorized in a separate segment.

Uday Jain, who is a scion of the Uma and Jain Estate, said expressed happiness over the family’s private collections having now come out in as a historic exhibition.

 

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