Jamini Roy (born 1887 in Beliator, a Bengali village of Bankura district in West Bengal), was the son of Ramataran Roy, a middle class government employee who left job in pursuit of art becoming amateur artist spending the rest of his life with potters in his village. A portrait painter from Kolkata in West Bengal, he soon gained international fame. He died at Kolkatta in 1972.
Education and Career of Jamini Roy
He studied in Kolkatta in 1903 at the Government School of Art at the age of sixteen. He studied under Abanindranath Tagore, a doyen of modern art, becoming the most well known of his pupils.
Beginning as a portrait painter following the European tradition, he introduced Bengali folk and peasant art in the 1920s. Despite extreme poverty which he endured, he pursued painting making his own paints from basic materials. He held a one man show at Kolkatta in 1929. In 1938, his paintings were exhibited for the first time in the British India Street of Kokatta.
He depicted the lives of rural Bengal as well a religious themes such as Ramayana, Radha-Krishna, Sri Chaitanya and Jesus Christ in his oil paintings but without its narratives. The paintings were remarkably influenced by the Bengal School of Abanindranath Tagore. Scenes from the lives of the aboriginal Santhals such as 'Santhal Mother and Child','Santhals engaged in drum-beating' and 'Dancing Santhals' were remarkable.
He used cheap indigenous pigments extensively in his work like the Bengali pata-painters such as lampblack, leaves, chalk-powder and creepers. In the 1930s, critics and writers began recognizing Roy’s distinctive style which he called 'Flat Technique' which soon led him to international fame becoming one of the important influential painters of his time. His paintings began to become popular with the Bengali middle class as well as the European community. His work was exhibited at London in 1946 and New York City in 1953.
Important work by Jamini Roy
Jamini Roy’s work included Santhal Boy with Drum, Cats Sharing a Prawn, St. Ann and the Blessed Virgin, Makara, Cats Plus, Seated Woman in Sari, Krishna And Radha Dancing, Kitten, Virgin And Child, Crucifixion with Attendant Angels, Ravana, Sita And Jatayu, Warrior King, Krishna with Gopis in Boat, Krishna and Balarama and Queen on Tiger.
Awards and Achievement of Jamini Roy
Jamini Roy received the Padma Bhushan in 1955 from the Government of India.