Overview for Contemporary Art in Baroda
Contemporary Art in Baroda traces the evolution of Baroda as an important centre of contemporary art and art education, from the nineteenth century up to the last decade of the twentieth century. It begins with a discussion, in the first chapter, of the historical background of culture in the erstwhile state of Baroda, leading up to the establishment of the Faculty of Fine Arts-an institution that pioneered art education at the university level. The tradition of murals, elaborately carved havelis and painted temples; the arrival of Raja Ravi Varma at the invitation of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad that resulted in the formulation of an east-west dialogue; the establishment of a school of art at Kalabhavan and a specially designed museum and art gallery with the intention of imparting visual education in eastern and western forms of art; the commissioning of Nandalal Bose to paint murals at Kirti Mandir-all these were factors that came together in diverse, eclectic, yet sustaining ways, to shape the art and culture of the city. The elaborate second chapter focusses on two decades of the building of the Faculty of Fine Arts, and the evolution of a committed system of art education that viewed art and knowledge as complementary forms and envisioned the new artist as a creative and articulate individual, aware of his past and present, constantly engaged in contemporary discourse. This vision of the pioneers of art education at the Faculty-Markand Bhatt, V.R. Amberkar, N.S. Bendre, Sankho Chaudhuri, K.G. Subramanyan -as also their careers and works and those of the first generation of artists trained there, are discussed in detail. The third and fourth chapters trace issues arising out of the changing art scenario and movements from the 1970s till the 90s, in the context of the national and international art scene. There is also a discussion of the works of Jyoti Bhatt, jeram Patel, Raghav Kaneria, Nagji Patel, Bhupen Khakhar, Nasreen Mohamedi, Vivan Sundaram, Laxma Goud, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Dhruva Mistry and N.N. Rimzon, among other artists. Art in its historical context; art as an effective deterrent to dehumanization; the formation of a distinct vision of art through a mingling of the past and the present, the immediate and the distant-these are some of the issues that are articulated through a discussion of the work of three generations of artists in Baroda.
Gulammohammed Sheikh (Editor)
Gulammohammed Sheikh, is an eminent artist, teacher and writer. Born in 1937 in Surendranagar (Gujarat), he was educated in Baroda and London. He taught art history at the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University of Baroda, in 1960-63 and 1967-81; and was Professor of Painting there from 1982 to 1993. He has also lectured widely on Indian art in India, Europe and the USA; held a Residency at Civitella Ranieri Center, Umbertide, Italy in 1998; and been Visiting Artist, Art Institute of Chicago in 1987, 2002, and Writer/Artist in Residence, South Asia Regional Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia in 2000. As an artist Sheikh has had ten solo shows, including one at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, in 1985. Among the numerous group shows at which his works have been exhibited are the National exhibition at New Delhi, 1962; Group 1890, New Delhi, 1963; the Paris 1963 and Tokyo 1967 Biennales; Triennale (India) 1975; Place for People, Bombay, New Delhi, 1981; Timeless Art, Bombay 1989. he has curated the following exhibitions: New Contemporaries (Jehangir Art Gallery, Bombay, 1978); Retrospective exhibition: k g Subramanyan (Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal, 1981); Birth and Life of Modernity (selections from French museums, co-curator with Geeta Kapur and Anis Farooqi, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, 1989); New Art from India: Home, Street, Shrine, Bazaar, Museum (City Art Gallery, Manchester, 2002). He is the editor of the volume Contemporary Art in Baroda (1996), and has contributed numerous articles to books and journals, including Marg and Journal of Arts & Ideas. Among the several honours Sheikh has received are the National Award in 1962, the Padmashri in 1983 and the Kalidas Samman in 2002.