- Date : 08/07/2021
- Read: 4 mins
Indian women have a history of showcasing their talent through their incredible artwork.
Art is the best way to showcase and feel emotion, and India is home to numerous artists of international acclaim. Some of the most successful and innovative artists from India are women, and they have explored a wide range of themes – from identity and memory to politics, history, and contemporary culture.
1. Amrita Sher-Gil
Considered a pioneer in modern Indian art, Amrita Sher-Gil is India’s most celebrated female artist. She first gained recognition in the early 1930s. Her oil painting ‘Young Girls’ (1932) won her many accolades. Though a lot of her early work was influenced by European culture, during the later stages of her career she made an attempt to return to classical Indian art. During the late 1930s, Amrita’s artistic mission was to express the life of Indian people through her work. Best known for incorporating Indian traditions, her portraits were of her friends, lovers, and herself, which usually reflected her mood. Today, her portraits are well-known the world over and command a high price, making her one of India’s most iconic women artists.
2. Bharti Kher
Bharti Kher is undeniably the most famous Indian artist when it comes to contemporary art and sculpture. To fully commit to her art, she moved to New Delhi from London in 1991. Her work features a combination of painting, sculpting, and installation, and is reflective of her own life. Many of her sculptures and paintings feature a bindi, which is worn by Indian women, referencing its traditional spiritual meaning of the ‘third eye’. Bharti’s unique ways of including bindis into her work have made her one of India’s best modern female artists. Her talent has been recognised internationally. She was also the top selling Indian female artist in 2010.
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3. Anjolie Ela Menon
Anjolie Ela Menon has evolved into a significant Indian contemporary artist. She has travelled extensively and exhibited her works in Europe and the US. Her work can’t be categorised in a single genre. It inspires her to explore new territories to work on. Anjolie’s paintings are identifiable by their bright colours. Her works find a place of pride in the collections of National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, Fukuoka Museum, Japan, Benjamin Gray Museum, New York, and many private collections all over the world. Her works have also been featured in several group exhibitions, including ‘Kalpana: Figurative Art in India’, ‘Mapping Memories – 2, Painted Travelogues of Bali and Burma’ and ‘Kitsch Kitsch Hota Hai’. She was bestowed with the prestigious Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2000.
4. Arunima Bose
Arunima Bose is a feminist artist. Through her art, she addresses sensitive issues considered taboo, such as gender and female sexuality. Before branching out in the world of art, she worked as a gender trainer in the development sector for nearly three years. Arunima thought it important to talk about the oppression of women in order to instil confidence in them. She noticed that female sexual organs remain more or less a mystery, even to women themselves. Therefore, she took to extensively illustrating and sculpting vulvas for the Gender Bender exhibition in 2017. The idea was to start a conversation with women, who are always taught to be quiet and not explore their sexuality or seek pleasure. Her series ‘Dendromagus’ talks about different body types. It also draws a metaphor, using plants, for the stages women go through.
5. Dayanita Singh
One of the most well-known female photographers in India, Dayanita trained at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad and then studied documentary photography at New York’s International Center of Photography. She has perfected the art of showcasing human relationships and focused deeply on the intricacies and details of emotional expressions. She has published several photo books and carved a niche of her own. Her wide collection has been exhibited at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, and Queen’s Museum, New York. Dayanita’s black-and-white photographs define and narrate the story behind her characters. She has evolved a distinct style in the form of photography books.