Ramkinkar Vaij (1906-1980) was one of the most significant artists of modern India. His sculptures at the Kala Bhavana complex at Santi Santiniketan in West Bengal were memorable contributions to public art. Much has been written about this bohemian genius, most of which contribute to a mystification of his persons.
Now A Ramachandran haswritten an authentic pen-portrait of the man and the artist, inextricably linked to form a unique personality. The lucidly written book intersperses lively anecdotes with glimpses of the artist’s process of work and the method of teaching at Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharti. As such, the reminiscences offer a valuable addition to the study of Indian art history.
This elegantly designer book is lavishly illustrated with rare personal photographs, as well as reproductions of Ramkinkar’s outstanding works. With an artist’s eye, Ramachandran has brought together a distinguished selection of Ramkinkar’s creations.
A Ramachandran (b. 1935) is one of India’s foremost artist. Trained at Kala Bhavana in Visva Bharti. Santiniketan and nurtured in the philosophy of a symbiotic relationship between man and nature. He has boldly experimented in diverse field of art ranging from painting , sculptures, graphics and ceramics. Ramachandran is well-equipped to write on the creative mullieu provided by Kala Bhavana. Profoundly inspired by his teacher Ramkinkar Vaij, this heart-felt tribute reveals the lively narrative abilities of Ramachandran.
Besides establishing a signature style in art, ramachandran has proved himself to be a gifted writer. Apart from a number of autobiographical essays where he spelt out his aesthetic concerns, Ramachandran is the author of a scholarly volume on medieval kerala murals titled painted abode of the gods: Mural traditions of Kerala. At the other end of the spectrum, illustrator of picture-book for children.
Ramachandran has taught at Jamia Millia University for three decades and it now Professor Emeritus of the same University.
Ramachandran is an elected Fellow of the Lalit Kala Akademi. He is the recipient of Padma Bhushan. He has been honoured by Visva- Bharti with the Gagan-Abani Purushkar and was conferred the Ravi Varma Puraskaram by the Kerala government.
Ramachandran lives and works in Delhi.
The National Gallery of Modern Art and I have extremely delighted to support and be a part of this publication which is a authentic portrait of a bold and daring creative personality, Ramkinkar Baij (also spelt Vaij). The text is charged, personalized and a reflective representation of the persona of the artist and his creative genius.
A. Ramachandran being an artist himself has also been a student of Ramkinkar since 1957 and has written an animated description of this Santiniketan master, who had captured popular imagination. Besides being a student of Ramkinkar, Ramachandran has an added advantages because of his deep understanding of music, literature and philosophy that has helped him elve deeper into the philosophy of Ramkinkar and be more perceptive, than most, to the lyrical sensuality of Ramkinkar, the man and the artist.
He has not only analyzed the remarkable artistic sensibility of Ramkinkar, but also depicted the larger-than-life character of the artist through intimate anecdotes, taking for instance, the hilarious bullock-cart ride to Kankalitala located in the outskirts of Santiniketan, under the blazing sun. Or, the ring-side view of the fight between the sculptor and Dr. Sudhin Ghosh, teaching in the English department. The fight, which had become a flashpoint in the history of Visva-Bharati, has been recounted with poignancy and humour. These glimpses of history. that have been recounted who poignancy the unfolding of modern India art. For example, the first-hand account of Ramkinkar’s working methods provides a rare insight into the artist’s visual and plastic language that defines their place in the opus if Indian art history. They are a reminder of what sets vision.Similarly, recollcollections of Ramkinkar’s innovative theatre designs offer pointers to an independent study of theatre deign in Visva-Bharti productions.
Ramachandran has written these reminiscences like a cinematic montage shedding light. In an enlightened and creative soul in the grab of a Fakir. Warm, personal anecdotes, which bring to life the artist, who was almost an outsider in his own milieu, are intercut with valuable information on the unique pedagogic methods followed at Kala-Bhavana in Santiniketan. So vastly different from the syllabi of the British-established art schools.
Reflecting upon Kinkarda’s unique approach to art and art education, one is reminded of the Zen story that in many ways reflects his approach to a educational method that addresses and insinuates the importance of the vitality of ‘form’ and ‘content’ than merely its physicality. The Zen story reveals how a young British artist through his command over ‘academic realism’ produced a mirror image of a sow. The representation of the sow, however, lacked the essence and vibrancy of life, and it failed to emote the pulsating through his own inventive ways inculcated these sensibilities into his own art as well as instilling these values among his students.
Rabindranath once wrote:
There are many paradoxes in the world and one of them this, that wherever the landscape is immense, the sky unlimited, clouds intimately dense, feeling unfathomable – that is to say where infinitude is manifest – its fit companion is one solitary person; a multitude there seems so pretty, so distracting.
An individual and the infinite are on equal terms, worthy to gaze on one another, each from his own throne.
This is the essence hat Ramakinkar so judiciously captured in all his work, be it his monumental sculptures or his paintings, which in turn has been so eloquently captured by Ramachandran in this publication. He also makes observations of what went wrong with the Visva-Bharati dream and opens up the possibility of a lively debate, particularly at a time the Visva-Bharati dream and opens up the possibility of a lively debate, particularly at a time, when efforts are being made to revive the great institution of a lively debate, particularly at a time, when efforts are being made to revive the great institution. But in the final count, this book will be most appreciated for the sharp and sensitive analysis of a great artist’s work.
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend