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Last on

Thu 6 Mar 2014 11:30 BBC Radio 4

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 06 March 2014

There was a time when British art critics declared that there was no such thing as fine art in India and that its sculptures and paintings were hideous and worthless. Mukti Jain Campion discovers the story of pioneering Calcutta painter Jamini Roy (1887 - 1972), who set out to challenge such colonial views and became one of the most successful fathers of Indian modern art.

In an apartment off London's Baker Street, Nirmalya Kumar, a Calcutta-born business professor, has amassed a unique collection which traces the evolution of Jamini Roy as an artist. It shows how Roy developed a distinctive "flat" style inspired by traditional village scroll painters - and then honed it over a lifetime.

Roy was keen that his art should be cheap and accessible and his paintings soon became immensely popular amongst ordinary Bengalis but also gained an international following.

Contributors include:
Professor Nirmalya Kumar, collector of Jamini Roy's paintings
Richard Blurton, curator of South Asian Art at the British Museum,
Partha Mitter Emeritus Professor of Art History, University of Sussex
Sona Datta, art historian and curator and author of book on Jamini Roy "Urban Patua".
Artist Sir Howard Hodgkin

Producer: Mukti Jain Campion
A Culture Wise production for BBC Radio 4.

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