Creation is objective, supporting our bodily reality in the world; it is informational, allowing us to explain the world to others. It is explorative, always pushing the boundaries of unrevealed knowledge. These creations, the varied individualistic and inspiring of many contemporary artists and discussing the modern art of our country, under one cover, became the purpose of our book – ‘Artists of India, Modern and Contemporary Art’. We hardly found any such book or limited segments being available, but then it should be of interest equally for art enthusiasts, researchers or patrons. We intended it especially for a knowledgeable reading and reference material for the students pursuing art and moderately priced too.
To explore such existing book we hooked up ourselves on online bookselling sites or went to sprawling bookstores and also inside crowded bylanes of Nai Sarak. The books by galleries are there, generally on individual artists or few together, but by and largely inaccessible, if available it’s limited and exorbitant. In this book, we have discussed the creations of 55 contemporary, eminent and acclaimed artists and their quest for something new and different, which in art is as old as art itself. From Realism to Impressionism, from Expressionism to Surrealism and more, artists are always in search of the styles that best define their sensibilities. We are also grateful to have Padma Awardees – Padma Vibhushan (1), Padma Bhushan (2) and Padma Shri (7) and other artists who have gained recognition and made India proud nationally and internationally as part of this book. This book talks about the creation not of one zone or region but spread over pan India including the States & UTs of Andaman Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chattisgarh, Delhi NCR, Haryana, Goa, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.
The book also traces the evolution of innovative trends and concepts briefly as they developed and transformed in the work of representative contemporary Indian artists. The works of some of the artists throw light upon the everyday banalities of peoples that society has not homogenised. For some, the concentration is on urban, and for some, it is rural, for some it is about a certain section of the society or the action or the condition, which the world might ignore. Few of the artists’ works are but absolute representations of photographs, some tell stories through their works, and some are a mirror to the society and make us aware of the realities. Some artists with blot and smudges capture the beauty of nature, some enthrall us by the landscape and some shows the energy and brute strength of animals. Some of the women artists of the book explore a wide range of themes, from identity and memory to history and contemporary culture and struggle in patriarchal society. The idea is to create an impression of what the artist wants to convey, and this is fairly explored in the book.
The book was under production for six months. The team of Takhte carried out the research on Indian Modern and Contemporary Art by visiting various libraries and bookshops and gathered enough material and thereafter phrased the content, which is informational and factual. The team made constant efforts in getting in touch with as many artists of India spread across all States and Union Territories through social media, WhatsApp group chats, phone calls, individual emails and word of mouth.
We believe in contributing the message that the art of our country is important, its legacy endures and shapes our place in the world, and that it will inform generations to come what India is as a civilization.