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Arpana Caur

New Delhi , India 4 Followers

About Artist

Born in New Delhi, Arpana Caur spent her college years studying literature; as an artist, she is largely self-taught. Her work can be seen to continue the line begun by Amrita Sher-Gil. It is feminine and feminist in ...

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Born in New Delhi, Arpana Caur spent her college years studying literature; as an artist, she is largely self-taught. Her work can be seen to continue the line begun by Amrita Sher-Gil. It is feminine and feminist in its perspective, with portraits of women placed in a contemporary urban context. The erotic is downplayed in favour of the sturdy: Gayatri Sinha states that, in her paintings, "There is no hint of an expressive sexuality; woman and nature are both symbiotically tied in a circle of perceived threat and uncertain renewal." The other major concerns in her work include time, life and death, the environment, and the violence of man on man (like Hiroshima, the Partition of India, and the 1984 massacre of the Sikhs). She has created several large non-commercial murals on subjects relating to the environment in Delhi, Bangalore, and Hamburg. Arpana work responds to the surroundings and events of her life, from the crowded Patel Nagar of her childhood to events such as the rape of Maya Tyagi and the widows of the Chasnala mining disaster.

Punjabi literature influenced Caur's artistic perspective, and writers such as Shiv Batalvi, Amrita Pritam, and Krishna Sobti were visitors to her home. The literature and philosophy of Punjab contributed to the strains of melancholy, mysticism and devotion that may be felt in her work, while the Pahari miniature tradition provided inspiration for Caur's manipulation of pictorial space. Despite her diverse influences, however, Caur's subjects remain firmly rooted in the quotidian world of the woman, showing women engaged in commonplace acts such as daydreaming or typing.

The repeated motif of clothing in Caur's work both confirms and subverts the traditional picture of women. Sinha writes that "the image of women sewing quietly, within the acceptable parameters of femininity is in a way liberated by Arpana, as the woman is placed outdoors, embroidering larger destinies. Instead of a feminine, income-producing function, it becomes a political comment on women's productivity."

Today her paintings support several projects for the underprivileged, including free vocational training in the Academy of Fine Arts and Literature of which she along with her mother the renowned writer Ajeet Cour, is the Founder Member. She supports a leprosy home in Ghaziabad, and ration projects for poor and old widows through Om Wahe Guru Ashram.

She expresses in her paintings her concerns for environment, time, life and death, spirituality, condition of women and growing violence in the world, rooted in the language of ancient Indian Sculptures and Miniatures.

Caur's works are part of the collection of several important institutions including the Museums of Modern Art in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Düsseldorf, Singapore, Bradford, Stockholm, Hiroshima and Los Angeles, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem.

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4 Artworks for sale

Testimonials

  • BIODATA

  • About Artist

    Born in New Delhi, Arpana Caur spent her college years studying literature; as an artist, she is largely self-taught. Her work can be seen to continue the line begun by Amrita Sher-Gil. It is feminine and feminist in its perspective, with portraits of women placed in a contemporary urban context. The erotic is downplayed in favour of the sturdy: Gayatri Sinha states that, in her paintings, "There is no hint of an expressive sexuality; woman and nature are both symbiotically tied in a circle of perceived threat and uncertain renewal." The other major concerns in her work include time, life and death, the environment, and the violence of man on man (like Hiroshima, the Partition of India, and the 1984 massacre of the Sikhs). She has created several large non-commercial murals on subjects relating to the environment in Delhi, Bangalore, and Hamburg. Arpana work responds to the surroundings and events of her life, from the crowded Patel Nagar of her childhood to events such as the rape of Maya Tyagi and the widows of the Chasnala mining disaster.

    Punjabi literature influenced Caur's artistic perspective, and writers such as Shiv Batalvi, Amrita Pritam, and Krishna Sobti were visitors to her home. The literature and philosophy of Punjab contributed to the strains of melancholy, mysticism and devotion that may be felt in her work, while the Pahari miniature tradition provided inspiration for Caur's manipulation of pictorial space. Despite her diverse influences, however, Caur's subjects remain firmly rooted in the quotidian world of the woman, showing women engaged in commonplace acts such as daydreaming or typing.

    The repeated motif of clothing in Caur's work both confirms and subverts the traditional picture of women. Sinha writes that "the image of women sewing quietly, within the acceptable parameters of femininity is in a way liberated by Arpana, as the woman is placed outdoors, embroidering larger destinies. Instead of a feminine, income-producing function, it becomes a political comment on women's productivity."

    Today her paintings support several projects for the underprivileged, including free vocational training in the Academy of Fine Arts and Literature of which she along with her mother the renowned writer Ajeet Cour, is the Founder Member. She supports a leprosy home in Ghaziabad, and ration projects for poor and old widows through Om Wahe Guru Ashram.

    She expresses in her paintings her concerns for environment, time, life and death, spirituality, condition of women and growing violence in the world, rooted in the language of ancient Indian Sculptures and Miniatures.

    Caur's works are part of the collection of several important institutions including the Museums of Modern Art in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Düsseldorf, Singapore, Bradford, Stockholm, Hiroshima and Los Angeles, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem.

  • Academics

    1979 Greater London Council Grant for Advanced Study in Painting, St. Martin School of Art, London(Did not complete the course)
    1984-85 Research Grant in Painting, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
    1975 M.A Literature, Delhi University

  • Exhibitions

    Solo Exhibitions
    2013 'Abstract Figuration', Gallery Veda, Chennai
    2006 Indigo Blue Art, Singapore
    2005 Mahua Gallery, Bangalore
    2004 Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Kolkata
    2003 Academy of Fine Arts and Literature, New Delhi
    2002 Cymroza Gallery, Mumbai
    2001 Academy of Fine Arts and Literature, New Delhi
    1999 ‘Rites of Time’, Bose Pacia Modern, New York
    1999 Centre for International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata
    1998 Foundation for Indian Artists Gallery, Amsterdam
    1998 Fine Arts Resources, Berlin
    1997 Arks Gallery, London
    1996 Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, Bangalore
    1994 Cymroza Gallery, Mumbai
    1993 Rabindra Bhavan Gallery, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
    1991 Collins Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland
    1987 Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata
    1985,89,94,98 Cymroza Gallery, Mumbai
    1985,88 Art Heritage, New Delhi
    1984 National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen
    1984 Ethnographic Museum, Stockholm, Sweden
    1982 Chapter Gallery, Cardiff, Wales, UK
    1981 City Hall Gallery, Ottawa, Canada
    1980,82,84 Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
    1982,87 October Gallery, London
    1979 Gallery Arts 38, London
    1979 Rabindra Bhavan Gallery, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi.
    1975 Shridharani Gallery, New Delhi

    Group Exhibitions
    2012 'Women: Sacred and the Temporal', Shrishti Art Gallery, Hyderabad
    2011 'Masters Ltd: Limited Editions', Gallery Beyond, Mumbai
    2011 'Masterclass', Dhoomimal Art Gallery, New Delhi
    2011 'Aureus 2011', Gallerie Nvya, New Delhi
    2010 '10 x 10', Gallery Threshold, New Delhi
    2010 'The Living Insignia', Gallery Ensign, New Delhi
    2009 'Mark of Masters-2', Art and Soul, Mumbai
    2009 'Sacred and Secular', India Fine Art, Mumbai
    2009 'Think Small', Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi
    2009 'Kalpana: Figurative Art in India', presented by The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) at Aicon Gallery, London; The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR)
    2008 'Dus Mahavidyas: Ten Creative Forces', presented by Gallerie Nvya at Visual Art Gallery, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi
    2008 'Baisakh 08', Polka Art Gallery, New Delhi
    2007-08 ‘Polyphonies’, Gallery Hosp, Tirol – Österreich, Austria
    2007 'First Person Narrative', Hasta Gallery, Hyderabad
    2005 Preview in Tate Berlin
    2005 Indigo Blue Art, Singapore
    2004 Smithsonian Museum, Washington
    2001 ‘Indian Contemporary Art’, Los Angeles; Singapore; San Francisco
    2000 Art Forum Gallery, Singapore; Australia
    1998 ‘Indo-Austrian Group Show’, Austria
    1998 National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi and Mumbai
    1998 Rotunda Gallery, Hong Kong
    1998 Centre for International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata
    1997 ‘Tryst with Destiny’, Singapore Museum of Modern Art, Singapore
    1997 Bradford Museum Exhibition, Bradford
    1997 ‘Indian Women Artists’, National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi
    1995 ‘Indian Women Artists’, UK
    1995 Noma Book Exhibition, Tokyo
    1994-95 Satyam Museum, Japan
    1994-95 Glenbarra Museum, Japan
    1994-95 ‘Imagined City’, Museum of Modern Art, Brazil; Sao Paulo; Rio de Janeiro
    1984 ‘Group show of Indian Artists from National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi to Fukuoka Museum, Japan
    1984 First Indo – Greek Cultural Symposium, Athens; Delphi

    Participations
    2012 'Small is Beautiful', Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai
    2012 'Art for Humanity', Coomaraswamy Hall, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai
    2012 'Synergy 2012', 12th Anniversary Show, Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai
    2012 'Crossings: Time Unfolded, Part 2', Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA), New Delhi
    2011 'Ethos V: Indian Art Through the Lens of History (1900 to 1980), Indigo Blue Art, Singapore
    2011 'Celebrations 2011', Annual Exhibition, Kumar Art Gallery, New Delhi
    2011 'The Intuitive: Logic Revisited', from the Osians Collection at The World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland
    2010 'Art Celebrates 2010: Sports and the City', represented by Art Alive Gallery at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi to coincide with the hosting of the Commonwealth Games
    2010 'National Printmaking Portfolio', Marvel Art Gallery, Ahmedabad
    2010 Annual Exhibition, Chawla Art Gallery, New Delhi
    2010 'Celebration 2010', Annual Exhibition, Kumar Art Gallery, New Delhi
    2008 'Harvest 2008', organized by Arushi Arts at The Stainless Gallery, New Delhi
    2008 ‘Tiger by the Tail ! Women Artists of India Transforming Culture, Part 2’, organized by Women’s Studies Research Centre (WSRC), Brandeis University, USA in partnership with Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), New Delhi
    2007-08 'From Everyday To The Imagined: Modern Indian Art', Singapore Art Museum, Singapore and at Museum of Art, Seoul National University, Seoul
    2007 ‘Tiger by the Tail ! Women Artists of India Transforming Culture, Part 1’, organized by Women’s Studies Research Centre (WSRC), Brandeis University, USA in partnership with Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), New Delhi
    1994 Asian Art Show, Hiroshima Museum, Hiroshima
    1994 Osaka Print Triennale, Osaka
    1987 Exhibition of Woman Artists, Festival of India, USSR
    1987 Algiers Biennale, Algeria
    1987 Cuba Biennale, Cuba
    1986 1st Baghdad Biennale, Baghdad

    Other
    Filmed by BBC, Star TV / Doordarshan, Stockholm TV, CNN Hong Kong, Canadian TV. Work featured in several books on contemporary Indian art and Who’s Who’. Pocket book by Roli, published in 2001. Founder Member of Academy of Fine Arts and Literature, at which her paintings support vocational education of 150 underprivileged girls run by her mother writer Ajeet Cour since 40 years.

  • Award & Recognition

    1992,91,90,89 Eminent Artist, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
    1987 Commendation Certificate, Algiers Biennale, Algiers
    1986 Gold Medal for Painting, 6th Triennale, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
    1985 Received Research Grant for Painting in Garhi Studio, from Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
    1984 All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS) Award, New Delhi


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