K G Subramanyan
A painter, sculptor, muralist, printmaker, and a vastly influential artist who called himself an ‘Artist activist’ was born in Kerala, India. Being actively involved in the freedom struggle and known for his Gandhian Ideology, K G Subramanyan was a part of India’s post Independence search for identity through art.He spent most part of his life living in Baroda and Shantiniketan. He also taught at Bombay and spent brief amounts of time studying and working in China, UK, Mexico, Sydney, and Oxford.
His deeply engaging work moved between reality and illusion. His work resonates images and styles from other traditions and deconstructed old traditional concepts. He was an anecdotist by nature who transformed images, changed their character by making them float, fly, perform and tell a visual story. His style was inspired by rich folk art traditions and referred to the Modernism’s cubistic styles of the West.
‘Mani da’ as they called him, was a man who spent a lifetime affirming his faith in the gallery system and working with each one of them in the country that approached him. K G Subramanyan was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2012, the Padma Bhushan in 2006 and Padma Shri in 1975.
His death at the age of 92, on the 29th of June 2016 signaled the end of an era where artists weaved their careers and ideas and played a crucial role as educators.