Saturday, December 19, 2009

Student News: Looking at Art with Anjali Raghbeer

Over the years the Internet has blurred our geographical boundaries, so that even though Anjali Raghbeer lives in Delhi and I don't, I was able to see some of these interesting and thoughtful picture books when they were in very early draft form. The "Looking at Art" series uses the tools of narrative and fiction to examine the lives of four major artists from India from the 19th century to the present.

The artists featured in the books are:
  • Ravi Varma, who painted classical mythic Indian images in the 19th century, using European-style oil and canvas
  • Amrita Sher-Gil born of Hungarian and Sikh parentage whose works have been declared National Art Treasures by the Government of India.
  • Jamini Roy, trained in formal European painting, whose work straddled two centuries and who abandoned that training in favor of rich, evocative and completely original art that was close to his Bengali roots
  • M.F.Husain whose art career began when he painted film billboards in the 1930's and whose paintings include horses, mythological figures--and umbrellas!
In three of the books Anjali uses a fictional storyline to explore these lives--characters step out of paintings, a forger is caught, and reality and art become intertwines. The Sher-Gil story is told in a crafted first person voice that includes selected text from the artist's own journal. The Looking at Art series is published by Tulika Books, and will launch December 24 in Chennai at 5 pm. Anjali will read and sign at Ashvita, No 11, 2nd Street, R.K.Salai, Mylapore, Chennai 600004 (opposite Domino’s). Congratulations!


  1. Thanks for the update, Uma. Congratulations, Anjali ! No plans to come to Hyderabad ???

  2. Thanks Katia! I'd love to come to Hyderabad, let me see if it works out...