Jamini Roy was a Bengali painter from the small town of Beliatore in West Bengal. If you are an art-loving individual, you will have come across the distinctive “Kalighat” style of folk art represented in his work. He was one of the most well-recognized pupils of Abanindranath Tagore. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, third-highest civilian award in India in 1954 for his contributions within the field of art, and socio-political culture of India at the time. His painting style is influenced by the early 1920s style from Bengal School of Art. This is represented by the bold and minimalistic brush strokes and the use of natural rock paints, that give all his paintings an organic feeling to it. “While most of the Indian painters of the 20th Century were excited about modern art, which fetched them good returns, Jamini Roy stood out for his love towards Indian roots. His passion for simple Indian folk art was such that he did not care about selling his works for fancy prices and only sold them for as little as 350 rupees. And he would buy back his works, should he find out that his paintings are maintained poorly by the buyer. Influenced by the simplicity of Kalighat paintings (Indian folk art), Jamini Roy gave up on modern art and stuck to his roots, winning millions of hearts in the process. He also gave up on using European paints and even canvases to replace them with suitable like handmade paper.” (Culture India) 1
I was inspired by his style of work since he believes in sticking to his roots, he has made work that represents changing time, mythological stories and locals around him, all with a distinct style of painting, influenced by his years of practising art. To understand the technical aspect of a Jamini Roy painting, I was inspired to make one of my own. I sourced natural rock paints while on a trip to Kolkata, West Bengal, and used hand made paper to stay true to his artistic motivations. I wanted to change the colours of the original painting in order to create a new version of it. “Mother and Child” was one of the most eyecatching paintings for me, the shape of their eyes; and the slight change in tones to create a layered composition stuck with me. Even though I did not use single strokes to make the work, I understood why it fit for his style. It is bold and the shapes are graceful, which means any pencil lines will be unnecessary as long as you have an idea of what your outcome should be.