Ram Kumar

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Ram Kumar is one of the post colonial contemporary artists of India. He was born in 1924 in Shimla and he achieved his master’s degree in economics from St. Stephens College, Delhi University. Ram Kumar use to take painting classes at the Sharda Vakil School of art and was noticed by the famous painter S.H.Raza who later became his close friend.  In1952, Kumar went to Paris to study painting. He received the JD Rockefeller fund fellowship in 1972. Ram Kumar is also a great writer. He was well known for his short stories in Hindi. The Govt. of India awarded him the ‘Padmashree’ in 1972.  In 1985, he was awarded the ‘Kalidas Samman’ by the Madhya Pradesh State Govt. Ram Kumar lives and works in New Delhi. At Paris, Kumar took guidance under Andre Lhote and Fernard Leger between 1949 and 1952.

With the ever increasing global interest in the Indian contemporary art, Ram Kumar’s paintings too have gained appreciation in the booming art market. Ram Kumar has had numerous solo exhibitions including the International Biennales in Tokyo in 1957 and 1970, the Venice Biennale 1958 and in Sao Paulo in 1961, 1965 and 1972.  He has also participated in the Festival of India show held in the former USSR and also in Japan in 1987-88. Ram Kumar has also received the prestigious ‘Prem Chand Puraskar’ from the Uttar Pradesh Government for ‘Meri Priya Kahaniyan’ which was a collection of short stories.

Ram Kumar’s early work specifically manifests the typical human conditions. He typically depicts the estranged individual lying alone amidst the city. His work specifically portraits the city Varanasi and its decrepit and crammed houses. His paintings give the on looker a sense of hopelessness and despondency. With uneven and sweeping strokes of paint; Kumar stirs up a sense of ecstasy of spaces. His recent work portrays the embryonic hostility within human environment.

Kumar demonstrates the innermost dramas of Indian culture while still maintaining his eccentricity and distinctness. Ram Kumar maintains the idiosyncrasies in his work by depicting the art of reminiscence. Ram Kumar relinquished his engagement with the state and civil society which claimed to characterize his position. The artist prefers to turn inward; choosing to be an inside expel of the soul. Ram Kumar’s recent paintings have been an aesthetic kind of reconciliation. The severity of the structure and the intensity of the brush strokes evoke the universal rhythm of art creation in Kumar’s paintings. The uncommunicative silence of Kumar’s paintings in a way screams to the onlooker. The journey of Kumar’s art has been an experience like that of the flowing river, moving graciously from festive expressivity to menacing reticence. The true subject of Ram Kumar’s art is perhaps the sensuousness of the beautiful landscapes that he creates in his paintings. His landscapes are usually done in oil or acrylic. In the truest sense if the term, Ram Kumar has indeed been one of the brilliant twentieth century modern painter.



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