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The Pursuit of Happiness: Through the perspective of Indian Art
By Anandita Bhardwaj
20 Mar 2022
It goes without saying that looking at art makes us happy and there has been research and studies done to corroborate that. Through the course of time Indian artists have created sublime artworks to capture several aspects of our life that makes us essentially happy. On the celebration of World Happiness Day, we bring you a glimpse of things that make us happy throughout the works of modern Indian artists.
Home and family
The theme of bond between mother and child has been a recurring theme in India art This work by one of greatest Indian modernist Jamini Roy depicts an affectionate moment between a mother and a child. The combination of the flat technique and the mother and child in the artwork shown above makes it an outstanding Jamini Roy work. This work was executed with Tempera on cloth in the year 1930.
Nikhil Chaganlal has a complete mastery over creating vibrant colourful interior landscapes that are often autobiographical in nature. Reminiscent of childhood homes, these interiors are alive with objects, elaborate furnishings and express a vulnerability that is complemented by layers of decadence and fantasy. This work An Intimate Interior By The Sea is executed with acrylic on board.
Love and friendship
This is work by senior artist Jogen Chowdhury who has often dwelled on the complex dynamics of intimate relationships by several works featuring couples. This untitled work was executed in the year 1994 with watercolour, ink and pastel.
This work by artist B Vithal showcases a group of friends playing cards. This large oil on canvas work from the year 1986 is one such painting from his large body of work that delineates the artist’s effortless command over brushwork and acute understanding of tones and depth.
Dance and music
Trained in the Kathak style of dance, artist K KHebbar captured the graceful moves of dance performances in several of his works. This vibrant work titled ‘Red and Gold,’ captures the lithe movements of classical dancers amidst her recital.
Reading and meditation
Manjit Bawa’s works are the perfect melange of modern sensibilities and Indian aesthetics - harmonizing the brilliant strokes that are typical of modern art and bright colours such as red, yellow or green as the background. This work depicts a protagonist reading a book against a deep red background. The inscrutable gaze of the figure is common to the artist’s style. Executed in the year 2000, the painting is an excellent example of Manjit Bawa’s outstanding figurative art practice.
Executed by artist artist Jamini Roy, this work created in the year 1950 depicts the Buddha in a meditative state of enlightenment atop a Lotus flower. The technicality and the detailing of the work does justice to the subject matter and adds to the grandeur of this monumental work.
Nature and travelling
William Daniell was a renowned landscape and marine painter primarily known for capturing the various scenes of India through his work. Shown above is a characteristic oil on canvas work by the artist titled ‘Deer in a wooded landscape’. Executed in the early 18th century this work depicts a tranquil scene with a herd of deer milling about the stream.
Raza often visited the Kashmir valley. This work titled ‘Kashmir Valley’ was inspired by the beauty of the state often referred to as “Paradise on Earth”. Executed in the year 1949, belongs to the early years in Raza’s career when we would execute figurative works in watercolour or gouache.
Movies and sports
Chronicling one of the most famous romantic Indian songs ever filmed, the presented work by artist Arpana Caur recreates the iconic scene from the song ‘Pyaar Hua’ from the movie Shree 420 featuring legendary actors Nargis and Raj Kapoor. The oil on canvas work was executed in 1999.
As they say, cricket is a religion in India. And master blaster Sachin Tendulkar is the god of cricket. Celebrating the legacy of the sports superstar loved and revered by millions of cricket fans, artist Bhupen Khakhar created this striking watercolour portrait titled ‘Sachin’ in the year 1994.
Even as the horizon of Indian art continues to expand with a constant influx of ideas and experimentation, artists continue to capture the essence of happiness with portrayal of different shades of happiness, familial bonds, as well as the relationship between human and nature.