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 Rameshwar Broota  (1941 - )

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Lived/Active: India      Known for: painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Rameshwar Broota
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Birth
1941
 
Lived/Active
India

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

As a young painter in the 1970s, Rameshwar Broota's work forcefully expressed his anguish at the suffering he saw all around him and his indignation at society’s greed and corruption—notably through colorful and humorous depictions of anthropomorphized gorillas representing the “pillars of society”: police officers, military generals and the judiciary, depicted in compromising situations.  Broota's imagery shifted in the 1980s from his ironic “Gorilla Man” to the “Primordial Man,” symbolizing the universal substance of the human being.  Since then, his work has continued to evolve, his more recent paintings dealing in crisp combinations of the abstract and figurative.  Here the body reigns supreme, reduced to its parts, internal and external—nerves, protruding ribs, veins, a folded knee, a muscular torso—usually disrupted by geometric shapes.

Broota studied at the College of Art, New Delhi, and graduated in 1964, serving there later as a faculty member.  He has shown work in many international exhibitions, including the annual show at the Arts India Gallery in New York, and in the Havana, Tokyo and Bangladesh Biennials.  In 1976 his work was featured at the International Art Fair biennial in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France.  Along the way, his art has been exhibited at the National Gallery of Modern Art, in New Delhi; the Singapore Art Museum; the Lalit Kala Akademi, in New Delhi; the Museum of Modern Art, in Oxford; the Hirshhorn Museum, in Washington, D.C.; and the Darmstadt Museum, in Darmstadt, Germany.

He received the National Award of the Lalit Kala Akademi in 1980, 1981, and 1984, and the Senior Fellowship of the Government of India in 1987 and 1988, among several other awards.  In 1967, he assumed a position as head of the art department at Triveni Kala Sangam, in New Delhi, where he lives and works.
Source:
Christie's Mumbai

Biography from Saffronart:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Rameshwar Broota, began his artistic career as an academic portraitist, but soon turned to more stylized renderings of the figure to develop an idiom that was more attuned to his artistic vision.  Deeply aware of and affected by socio-political developments, Broota's primitive figuration explores sociopolitical realities, pre-social existence, and the possibility of post-social man as a critique of economic and political corruption, and the excesses that cause it.  In the early 1970s, he executed the seminal 'Ape' series of works offering a satirical look at the leadership of the nation with a particular focus on their greed and conspicuous consumption despite the poverty of their people.

"Almost inverse to his works done in the late Sixties, Broota ventured into an ironic vein in the paintings of the Seventies.  His Ape series critiquing the corruption and decadence among the political and social elite became haunting visual metaphors of a creeping rot in society.  The paintings were large.  Broota's imagination always engages with grandeur in scale.  Broota used a lot of colour in the paintings of this series, something he pared down in his later works.  What is significant is that this is the last series in Broota's work that has a direct narrative and related visibly to an external reality.  The philosophical and introspective search for an image, which was to pervade his canvases later, is not manifest here" (Ella Dutta, "The Archaeology of Experience", Rameshwar Broota, Vadehra Art Gallery exhibition catalogue, 2004-05, p. 18).

Born in 1941 in Delhi, Rameshwar Broota graduated in Fine Arts from the Delhi College of Art in 1954.  Soon after his graduation, the artist joined the institution as a lecturer.  In 1958, he moved on to Jamia Milia Islamia and then to the Sarda Ukil College.  Since 1984, Broota has served as Head of Department at Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi. 

Broota’s work easily combines the mythical and the real, and creates a sense of absurdity through the striking differences between the two.  The icons and images that he uses are all part of his subconscious self.  As an artist, Broota feels that he may choose to reveal or recreate the immediate reality, but he also dwells in the inexhaustible past.  “The unconscious is a store house of immense knowledge and impressions which an individual absorbs and retains with him.  When he assumes the body of an infant, he inherits the sum total of the experiences of his predecessor from time immemorial”, he points out.  In his Gorilla series, for instance, the artist says he "tried to depict a pre-human reality typified by a terrifying brutality… Over the years that feeling has been toned down. Now there is a certain mystic quality to my paintings.”   The artist is known for his paintings of male bodies, both muscular and emaciated, testament to the passage of time.  Over the years, Broota has perfected his unique technique, discovered by accident, in which he first applies layers of different coloured paint on the surface followed by a final coat in a dark colour, and then scratches and scrapes away the upper layers of the painting with a sharp knife, to literally unearth his luminous images.

Broota has received the National Award from the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, three times: in 1980, 1981 and 1984.  He was also awarded the ‘Kala Vibhushan’ by the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS), New Delhi, in 1997. Broota has exhibited far and wide, his most recent solo shows being 'Counterparts' at Vadehra Art Gallery at Shridharani Gallery, both in New Delhi, in 2009; ‘Photographs by Rameshwar Broota’ at Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, and Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, in 2008; and ‘Archeology of Experience’ organized by Vadehra Art Gallery at Shridharani Gallery, New Delhi, the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai, and Gallery 88, Kolkata, in 2004-05. Rameshwar Broota lives and works in New Delhi.

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