Saturday, February 25, 2012

Kashmir Canvas of Bombay Progressives

In 1947, just when geographic borders were getting re-defined in this part of the world, a bunch of artists started on a journey that was to alter the borders of Indian art.  Six young artists founded the Progressive Artists Group in Bombay. These were FN Souza, SH Raza, KH Ara, MF Husain, SK Bakre and HA Gade. Around same time three men in Kashmir were also going Progressive. These were S.N. Butt, Triloke Kaul and P.N. Kachru. When SH Raza reached out to these artists in Kashmir in August 1948, the result was formation of 'Progressive Artists Association' in Srinagar in October. It's first exhibition was held in May 1949 and by October that year the exhibition traveled out to Delhi. The two progressive groups continued to inspire each other for many years to come. Raza famously went on to explore the Tantric symbolism in his painting inspired by Kashmir. In 1950s, Raza went on to mentor one of the best known progressive artists from Kashmir - great G.R. Santosh went too made his mark by Tantric symbolism. But before moving to abstracts, most of these men did try painting the colors of Kashmiri landscape.




Kashmir by SH Raza ( Came across it in a CD 'Indian Paintings' produced by Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Government of India.)

Kashmir by Hari Ambadas Gade. 1950 [via: Saffronart]

Gandharbal Kashmir by N.S. Bendre. [via: cyberadsstudio]
G.R. Santosh trained under bendre too for some time. 
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