The art movements in the Indian Art

by Team ACF
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Take a look at Traditional Indian art. Their painting styles differ greatly from the West. But when you look at Modern and Contemporary art paintings, the differences are blurred. We already know that some of this change took place with the introduction of new art materials,
but most of this change took place due to the commercial demands of our Colonial Apparatuses. Our reaction to Colonialism over the Periods greatly influenced the evolution of Indian Painting.
We are already aware of the two types of Nationalists, Radicals and Moderates. This shows a division in our approach to freedom. The Moderates engaged in peaceful protests and in propositions beneficial to both, the Country and Colonial apparatus. The Radicals, on the
other hand, were extremely rebellious. Boycotting British goods was a common, and strong approach undertaken by them.
Artists too shared their preference over the Radical and Moderate approaches, and it shows with their engagement in Painting. Some artists were greatly influenced by the Modern, Western style of Painting. They believed that art needed to evolve with changing Society.
This was a rather moderate approach. Other artists decided to focus primarily on our traditional styles of painting, to preserve culture and to prevent themselves from being  brainwashed by Western ideals, so to speak.
Indian art from the 18 th -19 th Century was a jump. To understand how our art forms evolved so much in such a short span, we need to look at some of the Art Movements.
The Bengal School of Art was a Movement of cultural awakening, founded by Abanindranath Tagore in 1907.
Around the 1800s; before this Movement, Bengal had taken to British Education, and the British culture was considered the ideal way of life. Thus, the British were the Target Audience for Bengali art. Unsurprisingly, the British were intrigued by Indian art forms, which was the reason Bengal created their traditional art. In short, they did not refrain from Modern art practice as a way of protest, but to meet the Western demands.
The Kalighat paintings are an example of traditional Bengali art forms, depicting deities and figures with exaggerated body parts, made from natural pigments such as turmeric and indigo on paper or cloth.

The Partition of Bengal is the exact point in time when Bengal transformed from pro-British to anti- British, at the year 1911. This is when Modern Art institutions were formed as an anti-Colonial weapon to engage with Universal, Western art Practices and to encourage India’s Urban growth.
E.B. Havell played a key role in preserving Indian art forms at this time. Initially, he taught at the Calcutta School of Art, but his influence was mostly successful after his partnership with Abindranath Tagore. Tagore’s paintings; depicting the revival of Indian art forms, became increasingly popular among the locals.

The Bengal School of Art came to an end around the 1930s, but it was this Movement that truly prevented the death of Indian Art Practices.
The Progressives Artist group completely transformed Indian Art practices, found in 1947. Based in Mumbai, this Movement introduced the Fusion of Indian and Western Art practices, giving birth to Indian Expressionist paintings, and other Indian Modern art forms. In short, it
disagreed with the preaching made by the Bengal School of Art.
Why? Because this was now a post-colonial Period. We were no longer protesting against the British, so why should we prevent ourselves from reaching out to the Universal Market? Why should we limit ourselves to traditional Indian Art Practices?
Initially, the group was limited to six members, namely Hussain, Raza, Souza, Ara, and Bakre. The group expanded around 1950.
Each artist was influenced by different styles of painting. Hussain’s artworks are a collaboration of Indian Folk art, tribal art, mythology and Cubism.

The Movement was short – lived; however, and the group broke apart in 1956. Fortunately, each member continued to influence other artists through their practice, due to which the fusion of Western and Traditional art still exists in Contemporary Indian paintings. We have
an excellent historical art background, but this richness is not limited to the traditional. Our evolution of art practices is an extremely important topic to focus on, for it discusses the reason our Cultures are so diverse.
Urbanisation has not limited our diversity, but has given birth to a new culture, the culture of City Dwellers.

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