Roy trained in the Western academic tradition at the Government College of Art and Craft, Calcutta (Kolkata), but soon after turned his attention to the vernacular arts of eastern India. He took particular inspiration from itinerant painter-minstrels (patuas), who used (and continue to use) painted scrolls (patas)—similar to the one on view in this gallery—to illustrate their stories. His rejection of portraiture and grand historical themes in favor of everyday village scenes was also part of his larger project to create a more authentically Indian art.
Roy did not repudiate European artistic conventions wholesale, but rather sought to reconcile them with regional practices. This depiction of five rural women, for example, combines local pigments, subject matter, and painting styles with modernism’s abstraction and repetition of forms. Rendered in a limited range of colors and gestures, the image of an anonymous female collective presents a bold vision for a modern India.
figures; jewelry; portraits; women; decorations
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