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Article

Marcella Nesom-Sirhandi

(b Delhi, India, Feb 4, 1941; d Lahore, Pakistan, Jan 18, 1999).

Pakistani painter, sculptor and printmaker. Educated in Pakistan and abroad, he has consciously and successfully synthesized Eastern and Western aesthetic traditions. In 1963, a year after graduating from the National College of Arts, Lahore, he joined the faculty as a lecturer in art, later becoming a professor and head of the Department of Fine Arts. His studies abroad have included post-graduate work in London (1966–7, 1968–9) and the United States (1987–9).

Like many of his colleagues, Zahoor was influenced by his mentor, Shakir ‛Ali, principal of the National College of Art from 1961 to 1975. Both artists were motivated by art history, philosophy and aesthetics. Zahoor’s non-figurative paintings of the 1960s evolved into tangible—though not always realistic—images addressing the dualities of space and time, East and West. Most of his triptychs and single canvases were conceived within a grid that provides a stabilizing structure for their compositions. This grid refers to Zahoor’s admiration for the American artist ...

Article

Arnige  

Ian Alsop and Kashinath Tamot

[Chin. Anige; A-ni-ke; A-ni-ko; Nepalese: Arnike]

(b c. 1244; d c. 1306).

Nepalese sculptor, architect, and painter who worked in Tibet and China. A Newar from the Kathmandu Valley, Anige is now honoured in his native land as Nepal’s most famous artist of early times. He left his home at the age of 17 or 18, joining the myriads of wandering Newar artists who served the courts of the great lamas and emperors of Tibet and China. He so impressed his patrons at the court of the Mongol Yuan dynasty (1279–1368) that he eventually rose to a position of prominence as the director of the imperial workshops at the capital of Dadu, now Beijing.

No trace of Anige’s life and works has survived in Nepal, but this is not surprising given the dearth of historical records (as is the case throughout the Indian subcontinent), and the fact that artists were generally anonymous. Further, as Anige left the valley at a young age, his artistic distinction was almost entirely achieved in foreign lands....

Article

R. Siva Kumar

(b Bankura, May 25, 1906; d Calcutta, Aug 2, 1980).

Indian sculptor and painter . The example of rural craftsmen inspired him to paint curtains for village theatre and posters for the nationalist demonstrations before he was taken in 1925 to the art college at Santiniketan in West Bengal by the nationalist leader, publisher and patron Ramananda Chatterjee (1865–1943). He was initially influenced by Abanindranath Tagore and Nandalal Bose but soon developed an individual perception and a keen interest in sculpture. His early outdoor sculptures, such as Sujata (1935), Santal Family (1939) and the Lamp Stand (1940), were made in situ in Santiniketan in concrete and were environmental in scale and theme.

Although best known for his sculpture, as a painter Baij, along with Benode Behari Mukherjee, was one of the first Indian artists to show a deep understanding of modern Western art. In the late 1930s and early 1940s he made reference in his formal language to Post-Impressionism, Cubism and Futurism, although he consistently derived his imagery from immediate visual experience. The combination of these influences with his natural ...

Article

Eleanor Heartney

(b Bangkok, Feb 25, 1953; d Bangkok, Aug 25, 2000).

Thai sculptor and installation artist. Boonma studied at the Poh Chang Arts and Crafts School, Bangkok (1971–3) and went on to study painting at Silpakorn University, Bangkok (1974–8). He became a Buddhist monk in 1986 and his work explores a distinctively Buddhist art language. His early work dealt with environmental issues that came out of his concerns about the effects of industrialization on rural Thailand. Increasingly his work became involved with issues of illness and death as his own health faltered. He subtly melded natural forms, Buddhist architecture and ritual objects with a minimalist sense of structure inspired by his study of Western art. He fashioned sculptural objects based on Buddhist alms bowls, ‘painted’ with healing herbs and created walls and enclosures from stacks of hundreds of ceramic temple bells.

From 1991 Boonma’s wife struggled with breast cancer, until she succumbed in 1994. During this period the pair turned to both Western and Eastern tools to battle her disease, alternating chemotherapy with visits to shrines and offerings to propitious spirits. In ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Lahore, 1962; d London, Sept 1994).

British sculptor of Pakistani birth. He studied at Goldsmiths College, London (1987–90). After initially working in a wide variety of media, Butt settled exclusively on installations in the late 1980s. Because of his early death little of his work has become widely known, but that which has demonstrates by an interest in alchemy and a thematic preoccupation with seduction, pleasure and danger. Transmission (1990; see 1995 exh. cat., p. 65) comprises a circle of objects that look like open books, resting on the floor. The glass pages reveal a triffid motif that is lit by dangerous ultra-violet light. The series Familiars includes some of his best-known work and is concerned with the dichotomy between physical impurity and divine grace. It also derives from his interest in chemical properties, each of the three parts employing a different member of the chemical family of halogens: Substance Sublimation Unit (1992; see 1995 exh. cat., pp. 72–3) employs iodine confined in tubes set up in a ladder formation (the form was inspired by the mythical Santa Scala, or Holy Ladder of Perfection); ...

Article

Peter A. Nagy

(b Lucknow, Nov 28, 1958).

Indian sculptor and installation artist (see fig.). Raised in a family of physicians in the north Indian capital of Lucknow, Dube studied art criticism at the M.S. University in Baroda, in the western Indian state of Gujarat. Afterwards, Dube gravitated to New Delhi where she wrote on contemporary art and began to make sculpture. Early works were influenced by the carved-wood sculptures of her peers in Baroda, however she immediately began to integrate found objects and unconventional materials with the wood centrepieces to create ensembles that were abstract, yet still essentially figurative.

An important development in her thinking occurred with the work Desert Queen (1996; see Nagy, p. 145) made during her residency in Namibia. An animalistic form was crafted from blue velvet, elaborately beaded and embroidered, and then hung from the ceiling with cords. The work refers to the body, death, indigenous crafts, luxury commodities, and the relationship between exoticism and desire. ...

Article

Anthony Gardner

(b Singapore, July 12, 1959).

Malaysian conceptual artist, active also in Australia. Gill studied at the University of Western Sydney, completing her MA in 2001. Despite working in a range of media, she is best understood as a process-based artist who has consistently explored notions of migration and transformation within material culture. These include the effects of international trade on such everyday activities as cooking and eating. The spiral form of Forking Tongues (1992; Brisbane, Queensland A.G.), for example, entwines Western cutlery and dried chillies from the Americas and Asia, highlighting how foods and utensils from across the globe have come together to transform local cuisines and inform culinary habits. Gill’s later photographic series refer to other understandings of migration, such as the spread of the English language or of capitalist desire throughout South-east Asia in recent decades. For Forest (1998; Sydney, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery; see Chua), Gill cut out words and sentences from books written in English, placed the texts within tropical landscapes and photographed the results before the books’ paper began rotting into the humid environment. For ...

Article

Anis Farooqi

(b Jhelum, West Punjab [now in Pakistan], Dec 25, 1925).

Indian painter, sculptor, printmaker and architect. Totally deaf from the age of 13, he studied painting at the Mayo School of Art, Lahore, from 1939 to 1944, and then at the Sir Jamshetjee Jeejebhoy School of Art, Bombay, from 1944 to 1947. After independence and the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, he pursued his artistic career in India and for several years expressed in his work the anguish of the partition. From 1952 to 1954 he studied at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, and from 1953 to 1954 worked under David Alfaro Siqueiros on murals in University City, MI. He was also influenced by the work of the Mexican artist José Clemente Orozco, especially by his use of large forms and his treatment of human anatomy. In his paintings of this period, such as Despair (1954; oil, 0.9×0.9 m; New Delhi, N.G. Mod. A.) and ...

Article

(b Peshawar, Oct 25, 1926).

Pakistani painter and sculptor. He began painting while training as an engineer in the USA (Columbia and Harvard universities) and held his first exhibition in 1950. He continued to paint while secretary at the Pakistan embassy at Ottawa during the 1950s, developing a reputation for portraiture. In 1957 he was commissioned to paint the portrait of King Zahir Shah of Afghanistan, and in 1959 he held an exhibition of 151 paintings and sketches in Kabul. He also painted portraits of Prince Karim Aga Khan (1961), Zhou Enlai (1964), Queen Farah Diba of Iran (1965) and President Ayub Khan of Pakistan (1968). He then turned to making portraits from marble mosaic and semi-precious stones, a technique that he had developed in Kabul in 1959. His abstract paintings, produced since the 1960s, incorporate ornamental calligraphy, coloured beads, small pieces of mirror, and gold and silver leaf. These works include a large abstract mural painted in ...

Article

Peter A. Nagy

(b Patna, Jan 2, 1964).

Indian mixed media artist and sculptor. After studying art in Patna, Gupta travelled with a Hindi-language theatre company, acting and designing sets. Primarily a sculptor, Gupta also painted, created installations, performances, videos and photography. Often the imagery used in one medium is operative in another, creating a symbiotic relationship between works. In 1991 he moved to New Delhi and concentrated on painting, favouring a style of abstract figuration that was prominent in India. His work matured with 54 Mornings (1996), a work comprised of 54 small, generic wooden stools with painted imagery and found objects. The work catalogued the objects of daily ritual use, both sacred and secular, and set the artist on the path to exploring the quotidian and clichéd.

In works such as My Mother and Me (1997) and The Way Home (2001, see Oslo exh. cat., pp. 34–5), Gupta arranges common objects into uncommon ensembles, creating sculptures that take on the grandeur of stage sets. He has also cast such objects as chairs, a Vespa motorbike, bicycles, bamboo sticks or liquor bottles in bronze or aluminium to create rarified monuments from the most humble things ...

Article

Richard Cork

(b India, Feb 15, 1884; d Cookham, Berks, March 13, 1959).

English painter, designer, ceramicist and sculptor. He studied at the Slade School of Fine Art between 1899 and 1903, where Wyndham Lewis was a fellow student, and then taught art at Clifton College (1907–10). It seems that Hamilton was in sympathy with avant-garde developments since he was involved c. 1912 with the Cave of the Golden Calf, the audacious cabaret club decorated with murals and sculpture by Jacob Epstein, Eric Gill, Charles Ginner, Spencer Gore and Wyndham Lewis. His work was shown in the final month of Roger Fry’s Second Post-Impressionist Exhibition (January 1913) in London, and later that year he joined the Omega Workshops, designing furniture, clothes and avant-garde interiors. In October 1913, however, he left Omega with Frederick Etchells, Lewis and Edward Wadsworth in protest against Fry’s policy.

Hamilton’s work was included in the ‘Cubist Room’ section of the Camden Town Group and Others...

Article

R. Siva Kumar

(b Chittagong, April 13, 1921).

Indian printmaker, sculptor and painter. He began with visual reporting of the 1943 Bengal famine for the Communist Party organ Jannayuddha (People’s War); he was also associated with the 1946 peasant unrest. Later, at the Calcutta Art School, he mastered traditional printmaking media. He devoted himself seriously to printmaking in the 1950s, developing viscosity printing independently in ...

Article

(b Bombay, March 12, 1954).

British sculptor of Indian birth. He was one of a generation of British-based sculptors who became established in the international arena during the 1980s and is prominent among his contemporaries for the quality of hermetic lyricism that permeates his work. He has acknowledged a bearing on his art of both Western and Eastern culture. The powerful spiritual and mythological resonances of his sculptures arise in part from frequent return visits to India. Natural materials such as sandstone, marble, and slate are impregnated with raw powdered pigment of vivid hues, thus enhancing a feeling of inner radiance. In the early 1990s he introduced a more enigmatic slant by boring holes in the flanks of standing stones, while in The Earth (1992; installed San Diego, CA, Mus. A.; Des Moines, IA, A. Cent.; Ottawa, N.G.; and elsewhere) a perfect circle was removed from the gallery floor to intimate the generative effect of negative space. In other works impressions of weightlessness stem from the skilled transformation of materials by an almost alchemical process; earth slabs coated with brilliant blue pigment become signs for sky and water. By imaginative combination of disparate materials in meditative structures, attention is focused on qualities of interior balance and well-being....

Article

Pandit Chanrochanakit

(b Bangkok, July 23, 1965).

Thai sculptor, installation artist, teacher and curator. He graduated from Silpakorn University, Bangkok in 1989 and went to study at the Sydney College of the Arts where he received a masters degree in visual arts in 1993. Kunavichayanont’s early works focused on Buddhism and the contemplation of ephemeral stages of life, creating works such as Time and Mind (1993; see 1994 exh. cat.), in which he drew on recycled paper everyday and allowed it to become his daily ritual of practising mediation. In Every Moment (1993; see 1994 exh. cat.), he examined the question of time by placing differently shaped sculptures on papers and spraying paint on them, before removing the sculptures. What was left was a trace of the sculpture once placed on the paper.

After visiting Sukhothai in 1994 and being inspired by ruined pagodas, Kunavichayanont produced a series of elephant installations. He had seen fragments of stuccoed elephants that someone had tried to reconstruct, as if to give them a new lease on life, and in his subsequent work, ...

Article

Van Lau  

Mayching Kao

[Wen Lou]

(b Xinhui County, Guangdong Province, Sept 15, 1933).

Chinese sculptor and printmaker, active in Hong Kong. Van moved with his family to Vietnam in 1935 and studied architecture and fine arts in Taiwan from 1953 to 1958; in 1960 he settled in Hong Kong. He became an influential figure in the local arts scene, not only assuming a leading role as a sculptor of the modern school, but also active in arts administration, publishing, design, education and politics. In the 1960s, inspired by contemporary international movements, Van experimented in different styles and media. He subsequently returned to his native tradition for imagery and aesthetic concepts, though retaining a Western approach in formal organization. Thereafter, his focus has been metal sculpture in geometric formations suggesting vitality and organic growth. His fascination with movement, particularly flight, inspired his Space Form (Hong Kong, Space Mus.), completed in 1980, followed by numerous public commissions.

Wen Lou/The Art of Van Lau (exh. cat., intro. ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Singapore, Feb 16, 1936; d London, Oct 23, 1997).

British sculptor and printmaker of Chinese birth. She grew up in Singapore and at the age of 18 decided to go to London to study at Saint Martin’s School of Art (1954–6) where she took a particular interest in wood-carving; she then transferred to the Slade School of Art, where she concentrated on printmaking, graduating in 1960. Whilst at college she often travelled through Asia and Europe en route back to Singapore, with Indian and South-East Asian sculpture and spirituality making a great impact on her work. An early sculpture, King, Queen, Pawn (1959; see 1999 exh. cat., pp. 12), consists of three simply shaped wooden blocks, with sections blowtorched to give a variation of colour. Whilst Lim always acknowledged a debt to the work of Constantin Brancusi in her simplification and abstraction of forms, it is in her concern for the specific qualties of materials, as in her use of charred wood to create contrast, that the influence of Eastern spirituality and concepts of balance can be seen. In ...

Article

Anis Farooqi

(b Kapadvanj, Gujarat, July 26, 1925; d Mumbai, July 2, 2009).

Indian painter, sculptor and film maker. He studied painting from 1947 to 1952 at the Sir Jamshetjee Jeejebhoy School of Art, Bombay, where he became acquainted with akbar Padamsee and was a close associate of the painters in the Progressive Artists’ Group. In 1954 he visited London and Paris for four months, then returned to India to devote himself to painting and sculpture. He took part in several group exhibitions and held his first solo exhibition of drawings, paintings and sculptures at the Jehangir Art Gallery, Bombay, in 1959. From 1959 to 1965 he lived and worked in London, exhibiting his paintings at the Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford (1962), among other locations. From 1965 to 1968 he lived in Delhi and in 1968 visited New York on a fellowship from the J. D. Rockefeller III Fund. By that time he was an acknowledged figure in contemporary Indian art. His paintings of the 1970s include ...

Article

Anis Farooqi

(b Calcutta, May 12, 1923).

Indian sculptor. After studying at the Government School of Art in Calcutta and the Delhi Polytechnic, Delhi, she received in 1953 a scholarship to study at the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste in Munich, where she worked under Toni Stadler and Heinrich Kirchner. On returning to India she began to work from 1957 with the tribal artisans of Bastar and to learn techniques from bell metal craftsmen in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. By the 1960s she had achieved recognition for her work and in 1968 was awarded the President’s Award of Master Craftsman in metalwork. From 1969 she funded her own tours in Madhya Pradesh but later received a two-year stipend from the Anthropological Survey of India to assist her research. She documented ritual vessels and items in bell metal and surveyed the work of indigenous metal craftsmen in India and Nepal. Like the metalworkers she studied, she employed the lost-wax process for her metal sculptures and worked seasonally, taking a year on each image and casting no more than six or seven in a year. She worked on large- and small-scale works, and her sculpted figures often have a quiet poise (e.g. standing figure of a woman; bronze, h. ...

Article

Sumitra Kumar Srinivasan

(b Bombay, April 12, 1928).

Indian painter and sculptor . His career reflects his intellectual maturity and understanding of indigenous and global culture as well as problems of integrating tradition and modernity. A man of many parts, his stylistic evolution was one where technical virtuosity, concept and vision fed and honed the creative process. His works resonate with the vitality of a metaphysical quest and are full of a sensual, deeply moving understanding of the inner rhythms and textures of form, line and colour. Padamsee created a stylistic vocabulary that integrated indigenous and Western aesthetic sensibilities with tremendous conviction.

Padamsee studied at the Sir Jamshetjee Jeejebhoy School of Art, Bombay. In 1951 he went to Paris, where he remained until 1953. At this period his work was largely figurative. He then began to struggle to develop a non-individualistic style that would reflect the technical and aesthetic predilections of modernism in a global context. After 1955 his figuration achieved a monumentality that resurfaced in the 1980s. Padamsee returned to India with his French fiancée to marry in ...

Article

Andrew Cross

(b Savannakhet, Laos, 1961).

British sculptor and installation artist, of Laotian birth. After completing his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, at Aix-en-Provence in 1985, he emigrated to England. Reference to the transitory nature of existence and to the passing between two cultures underlies much of his subsequent work. His site-specific installations acknowledge recent British sculpture through the use of largely unadulterated everyday material, but they are characterized also by the presence of culturally charged materials such as bamboo, silk and rice. A number of his works were made for outdoor situations. Ash & Silk Wall (installed London, Greenwich Park, 1994) was a large glass structure lined with ash on one side and silk on the other. The work was illuminated from inside to emphasize the translucency of the chosen materials, and a displaced section offered a doorway suggesting a passage through cultural boundaries. A visual and metaphorical layering, largely created by the contrasting of materials (hard and soft, organic and synthetic) has been a constant throughout Phaophanit’s work. In ...