K.G. Subramanyan

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biography

Born: India, North Kerela village

Painter, sculptor, muralist, K G Subramanyan was born in a village in north Kerala in 1924. While studying economics at Presidency College, Madras, Subramanyan became involved in the freedom struggle. He was imprisoned and debarred from government colleges. The turning point of his life came when he joined Kala Bhavan at Visva Bharati in Santiniketan in 1944. He studied at kala Bhavan till 1948.

Between 1951 and 1959, Subramanyan was a lecturer in painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Baroda. During 1955 and 1956, he wen to the Slade School of Art in London to study as a British Council research scholar. From 1959 to 1961, Subramanyan was deputy director (design) at All India Handloom Board. Bombay. He continued to be a design consultant till 1966. He went back to Baroda as reader in painting between 1961 and 1965.

From 1966 to 1980, Subramanyan was professor of painting at Baroda. He went to New York as J D Rockefeller 111 fellow during 1966 and 1967. From 1968 to 1974, he acted as the dean of the faculty of fine arts, Baroda. In 1975 and 1976, he attended World Craft council meets as a delegate. In 1976, he was a visiting lecturer at various Canadian universities. In 1980 Subramanyan moved back to Santiniketan and till 1989 was professor of painting at Kala Bhavan. During 1987 and 1988 ' he lived at Oxford as Christensen Fellow in St. Catherine's College. In 1989, he was appointed professor emeritus at Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati.

A theoretician and art historian, Subramanyan has written extensively on Indian art. His writings have formed a foundation for the study of contemporary Indian art. He has also written some delightful fables for children and illustrated them.
A mm of multifaceted talents, Subramanyan demolished banners between artist and artisan. He experimented with weaving and toy-making. He also reinvested several mediums earlier used in Indian art. For example, the terracotta mural and glass painting found a new lease of life with his experiments.

The artist gave the human figure a new dimension. Drawing upon the rich resources of myth, memory and tradition, Subramanyan tempers romanticism with wit and eroticism. He has received the Kalidas Samman in 198 1, the Padma Shree in 1975, a D. Litt. (Honoris Causa) from the Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta in 1992 and became a Fellow of Kerala Lalit Kala Akademi in 1993.

lives and works: India, Baroda

exhibitions

select solo exhibitions

  • 1955 Delhi Silpi Chakra, Freemason's Hall, New Delhi
  • 1961 Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 1962-63 Kunika Art Centre, New Delhi
  • 1967 Gallery Navina, New York
  • 1971 "Exhibition of Polytichs", Kunika –Chemould, New Delhi
  • 1972 "Exhibition of Terracotta Relief's", Kunika –Chemould, New Delhi
  • 1978 "Exhibition of Terracotta Relief's and Paintings", Nandan Gallery, Santiniketan, West Bengal
  • 1979 "Exhibition of Prints", Art Heritage, New Delhi
  • 1981 "Retrospective", Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
  • 1982 "Exhibition of Glass and Acrylic Sheet Paintings", Nandan Gallery, Santiniketan, West Bengal
  • 1983 "Retrospective K.G. Subramanyan", Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Kolkata
  • 1984 "Retrospective", Art Heritage, New Delhi
  • 1988 "Exhibition of Acrylic Sheet Paintings", Museum of Modern Art, Oxford
  • 1989 "Of Myth and Fairy Tale, Recent Works- K.G. Subramanyan", Seagull Foundation and Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Kolkata
  • 1990 Gallery 7, Mumbai
  • 1991 "Exhibition of Paintings by K.G. Subramanyan", Kala Yatra and Sista's Art Gallery, Bangalore, Karnataka
  • 1992 "K.G. Subramanyan, Exhibition of Paintings", Sakshi Gallery, Synergy Art Foundation, Bangalore and Chennai
  • 1994 "Exhibition of Paintings by K.G. Subramanyan", Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai
  • 1997 "K.G. Subramanyan", Cymroza Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 1998 "A Recent Series of Large Paintings by Prof. K.G. Subramanyan", Art Heritage, New Delhi
  • 1998 "K.G. Subramanyan : Paintings and Drawings", Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai
  • 1999 "K.G. Subramanyan - Dissolving Contradictions", The Window, Mumbai
  • 2000 "K.G. Subramanyan", Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
  • 2002 "Exhibition of Paintings by Prof. K.G. Subramanyan", Sarjan Art Gallery, Vadodara, Gujarat
  • 2003 "K.G. Subramanyan : A Retrospective", National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi and Mumbai
  • 2003 "K.G.Subramanyan : Recent Paintings", Art Heritage, New Delhi
  • 2003 "Paintings in Enamel", The Seagull Arts and Media Resource Centre, Kolkata
  • 2003 "Chairs: An Exhibition of Recent Work", The Seagull Arts and Media Resource Centre, Kolkata
  • 2004 The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2004 Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
  • 2005 "Recent Paintings", presented by Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2007 "The Painted Platters", The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2007 "The Magic of Making", presented by The Seagull Foundation for the Arts at The Seagull Arts and Media Resource Centre, Kolkata and RabindraBhawan, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
  • 2009 "Magic of Making: Recent Artworks by K.G. Subramanyan", at Akar Prakar, Aakriti Art Gallery and The Seagull Foundation for the Arts, Kolkata
  • 2010 "The Drawings of K. G. Subramanyan", The Guild, Mumbai
  • 2010 "Bangladesh Drawings", Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2013-14 "Mythologies", on the eve of 25th Anniversary of Gallerie 88, Kolkata

select group exhibitions

  • 1986 Grey Art Gallery, New York Delhi
  • 1992 "Journeys Within Landscapes", organized by Sakshi Gallery at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 1993 "Seven Contemporary Indian Painters", Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
  • 1996 Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2005 "Three Solo Exhibitions - K.G. Subramanyan, Manjit Bawa, Dhruva Mistry", organized by Sakshi Gallery at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2005 "Remembering Bhupen", Gallery Chemould, Mumbai
  • 2006 "Shadow Lines", Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
  • 2007 "Edge of Desire: Recent Art in India", National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai
  • 2008 "Baroda: A Tale of Two Cities", (Part I), Sarjan Art Gallery, Vadodara, Gujarat
  • 2008 "X at the rate of Jehangir", presented by Art Musings at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2009 "Think Small", Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi
  • 2009 "Tracing Time", Bodhi Art, Mumbai
  • 2010 "Modern Folk: The Folk Art Roots of the Modernist Avant-Garde", Aicon Gallery, New York
  • 2011 "Adbhutam: Rasa in Indian Art", Centre of International Modern Art(CIMA), Kolkata
  • 2011 "The Art of Drawing", The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2011 "Pause: A Collection", Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2010-11 "A Collection", Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2012 "Diva", Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2012 "Contemporary: A Selection of Modern and Contemporary Art", prsented by Sakshi Gallery at The Park, Chennai
  • 2013 "Ideas of the Sublime", presented by Vadehra Art Gallery at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
  • 2013 "Edge of Reason- and beyond, into pure creativity", presented by Indian Art Circle at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
  • 2013 "Still Life", Gallery Art Motif, New Delhi

honours & awards

  • 1957 Bombay Art Society Award
  • 1959 Bombay Art Society Award
  • 1961 Maharastra State Award
  • 1963 Medallion of Honourable Mention, Sao Paulo Biennale, Brazil
  • 1965 National Award, Lalit Kala Akademi, New 1968 Gold Medal, The First International Triennale, New Delhi
  • 1975 Padma Shree, Government of India
  • 1981 Kalidas Samman
  • 1985 Fellow, Lalit Kala Akademi
  • 1991 Gagan-Aban Puraskar, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan
  • 1992 D.Litt (Honoris Causa), Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta
  • 1993 Fellow, Kerala Lalit Kala Akademi
  • 1994 Shiromani Puraskar, Calcutta
  • 1997 D.Litt (Honoris Causa), Benaras Hindu University, Benaras
  • 1999 Kala Ratna, All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society, New Delhi
  • 2000 Jadunath Sarkar Gold Medal, Asiatic Society, Calcutta
  • 2000 Abanindra Puraskar, Calcutta
  • 2001 Gana Krishti Puraskar, Government of West Bengal
  • 2001 Manaviyam Ravi Varma Award, Government of Kerala
  • 2004 Lalit Kala Ratna awarded by the Lalit Kala Akademi on the occasion of its golden jubilee. (on 9 August 2004)
  • 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award, Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata
  • 2006 Aditya Vikram Birla Kalashikhar Puraskar
  • 2006 Awarded Padmabushan by the Government of India
  • 2009 Awarded Dishikottam, Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan
  • 2011 Awarded D.Litt (Honoris Causa), Assam University, Silchar.
  • 2012 Awarded the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India

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