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This list is dedicated to famous Indian female artists. Chances are if you google “women artists of India” you’ll come across a number of lists with some names common to each compilation. Interestingly, names from the 17th to 19th centuries are often omitted or omitted and somehow lost in the pages of history. We hope you enjoyed this list of the Famous Indian Women Artists.
Paving the way for women artists in contemporary Indian art, the Hungarian-Indian artist Amrita Sher-Gil was considered one of the greatest avant-garde artists of the early 20th century. Following her pioneering work, the post-independence era in India produced several female artists who left a mark on the trajectory of Indian art. “With their powerful writings, they have also redefined, rethought and challenged several ideas and notions in the Internet’s complex social issues, including the exploration of the theme of femininity and femininity.”
These female artists consistently receive critical acclaim for their work around the world due to the diversity of their artistic practices and continue to be among the most sought after artists among seasoned Indian art collectors. Below, are such influential Indian female artists that you should know about.
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Born in West Bengal, Anjoli Ela Menon is one of the country’s top contemporary artists, as many of her paintings are in several major collections. Her preferred materials are oil on masonite, but Menon has also used CGI and Murano glass. Menon uses a vibrant color palette and subtle shading to create portraits and nudes for which she is best known. Many of Menon’s creations included European influences such as Cubism.
Her work is recognizable by its vibrant colors, as well as its crisp outlines that underline the sheer audacity of youth. Since her work is not limited to one genre, Menon is free to explore new areas when it comes to creating art. The renowned muralist has shown some of her works in a number of countries and also represented India in several exhibitions.
No discussion of Indian contemporary art is complete without a mention of Amrita Shergil. The most famous artist of the country, people call her the Indian Frida Kahlo. During her early years in Paris, she drew inspiration from artists such as Paul Gauguin; but on her return to India, she was completely captivated by the frescoes with miniatures of Ajanta and the Mughals. In her work, she explored the female body in a completely different light, and in her art she tried to capture the reality of the emotions and everyday life that she observed so closely.
Best known for her portraits of India’s urban elite and middle class, Dayanita Singh focuses more on storytelling than summarizing personal experience in her books. She has primarily worked in black and white photography types, but has recently made her color photography debut to witness the drama of light and shadow. Inspired by Italo Calvino and Gustav Mahler, she advises aspiring photographers to read literature rather than just photography, which will help bring something to photography.
If there was a female artist trying to subvert the female body in order to deceive the male gaze, using banal objects as well as sacred paraphernalia, then it must be Anita Dube. Trained in art history and criticism at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Baroda, Dube has developed into a multifaceted art practice, using discarded objects, photographs, performances and poetry/text.
The beginning of her career was associated with active art criticism and writing associated with the formation of the Indian Association of Radical Painters and Sculptors (1987), which was based in Baroda and whose manifesto was written by Dube herself. Since the group’s dissolution, she has increasingly invested in the arts and her individual practice. Using a wide range of media, including raw flesh and media such as text and performance, she specifically designs her art installations to respond to and intervene with urban architecture.
Nasreen Mohamedi was born in Karachi and grew up in Mumbai. She was lucky enough to study at St. Martin’s School of Art in London. She is known for her black and white images. Her work embellished lines and basic geometry. Her depiction of lines seemed exceptionally fluid and moving. She was a pioneer of semi-abstract, lyrical paintings in the 1960s and is often referred to as the “beacon of abstract art in India”. Her work challenges the boundaries of Western art and provides an opportunity to admire abstract art.
Shilpa Gupta’s interdisciplinary practices, which explore a wide range of topics from consumer culture to desire, security, religion, nationalism and human rights, use interactive video, photography, installation and performance art, often relying on audience participation.
Functioning as an interactive video games, its series of video projections called “Shadow” includes simulated shadows of viewers captured by a live camera. Shadows are projected onto a white screen and interact with other shadows created by objects, puppets, houses, birds and other dancing, jumping and walking figures. Gupta is one of a younger generation of Indian artists whose work reflects the country’s post-colonial social divisions.
Nalini Malani was born in Karachi before partition and moved to India after it. She is a pioneering artist as she was one of the first to openly highlight feminist issues in her work in the 1980s. It was around this time that Malany rose to international fame as her drawings and paintings clearly carried meaning. Malani is known for her politically charged work that goes beyond paintings. She also creates art videos, installations and theatrical performances.
Issues that were ignored, such as race, class, and gender, are shown in her work. Much of Malany’s inspiration comes from her experience as a refugee during partition in 1947. Her work tells a story, but the narrative goes beyond the ordinary. As a public figure, Malani does not limit herself to gender-cultural categories. Instead, she deals with specific issues related to suppression.
If Amrita Shergil found a new way of seeing and expressing herself after meeting the Ajanta murals, Mira found her true calling when she saw the folk art of Bastar and Dhokra metal casting. These crafts use the lost wax casting method and Mira has spent years living in the village observing, learning and practicing this traditional folk paintings. The tribal artists were understandably wary of teaching her the whole process, so she experimented until she could call the art her own.
Mukherjee added her own unique imagery and patterns to art, while retaining myth, folklore, and rural-urban imagery. A popular example is Nataraja with three legs. Her experiments opened up a world of possibilities, especially in terms of scale. While artisans are still limited to small figurines even today, Mira Mukherjee’s sculptures have taken on the task of casting huge figures. She is one of the most prolific Indian sculptors to emerge in the post-independence era.
Since 1991, Bharti Kher has focused on creating artwork that reflects her nomadic life. She was born and raised in England but moved to New Delhi in the early 1990s. Kher uses the easily accessible “bindi” meaning “third eye” worn on the forehead by Indian women. “Bindi” plays the role of the main building block for her masterpieces. She is also an expert in creating wild and eccentric resin cast embroidered bindi sculptures.
Using paper as the main medium and a minimal vocabulary rich in associations, Zarina Hashmi creates abstract works that resonate with her life experience of exile and dispossession, as well as with the concept of home – be it personal, geographical, national, spiritual or family. Her contemplative poetic work includes woodcuts, etchings, drawings and casts made from paper pulp. Her handmade and calligraphic lines form a unifying element in her compositions. Language is crucial for an artist.
Letters from Home (2004) is a series of prints based on the letters of her sister, Rani, who lives in Pakistan. In a video interview with Tate, Zarina talks about how these letters helped her maintain a sense of identity. The handwritten Urdu is covered with maps and drawings of distant houses and places, bearing shadows of important moments and impressions from places that are relevant to her family’s life.
We hope you understand and enjoy this list of the Famous Indian Women Artists. Women have taken a predominant place in the art of India, not as artists, but as themes and symbols. Women in art are perceived as grace, elegance, divinity and magnificent forms. They are often portrayed as the epitome of motherhood, the embodiment of fertility, a worthy object, or a femme fatale. We hope you share this list with family and friends.
I hope you understand this article, Famous Indian Women Artists.
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