What are the common features and problems of contemporary Indian sculpture and contemporary Indian painting? Discuss with suitable examples.

Published: September 18, 2017

The common features of both modern Indian paintings and sculpture are that both of them are product of Indian Renaissance; both evolved during British era in same schools of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras through heavy influence of west on traditional Indian art. During their evolution, both used western ideas and realism to depict Indian themes and in due course, both got delinked from Indian tradition and went closer to international trends and modern abstractionism. Both of them found their patrons initially in rich, elite and royal families but now both attract upper middle class buyers. The founding fathers of both were the same people. During initial days, many accomplished painters were trained sculptors and vice versa. For example, Ramkinker Baij, who is known as founding father of Indian sculpture, was a trained painter also. He was a pupil of Nandalal Bose, who himself was an accomplished painter of Bengal school.
Ramkinkar Baij in 1940s and 1950s fused the western and traditional Indian norms, and mixed them up in modern context. He not only was able to input the indigenous content in the sculptures but also experimented with unconventional material such as concrete, gravel and cement. He was followed by realistic artists such as D.P Roy Chowdhury (1899-1975), who was a painter from the Bengal School of art, trained under Abhanindranath Tagore.
The problems of both these contemporary arts also share a lot in them. Both draw heavily from western tradition and are de-linked from Indian tradition; are more realistic and in both of them, the techniques are more important than content. Last but not the least, Indian art today, whether painting or sculpture, is more disconnected from general population.
This apart, both of these arts and artisans are reeling under economic issues also. This is partly due to buyer’s lack knowledge regarding art and its quality, threats from machine-made products (both sculpture and painting). So survival of new artists becomes difficult.

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