Augusta Stylianou Gallery
Ramkinkar Baij (Bengali: রামকিন্কর বেজ) (May 20, 1906 - August 2, 1980) is an Indian sculptor, known as the Pioneer of Modern Indian Sculpture. He was one of the first Indian artists to understand the language of modern Western art and use it in his sculptures. He is regarded as the father of modernism in art in India.
Baij was born in an economically modest Santhal tribal family in the Bankura district of the modern state of West Bengal in India.
While in his mid-teens Ramkinkar used to paint portraits of Indian freedom fighters involved in the Non-Cooperation Movement against the British rulers of India. At age 16 he got noticed by the renowned journalist Ramananda Chatterjee. Four years later Ramkinkar joined Rabindranath Tagore's university at Santiniketan as a student of fine arts. After obtaining a diploma from the university he went on to head the sculpture department. Eminent painter Jahar Dasgupta, a student of Shantiniketan was his disciple.
Ramkinkar Baij was no introvert or recluse, he responded to the a natural zest for life, and took a great interest in human figures, body language, and in the general human drama. Modern Western art and pre and post-classical Indian art were his main point of reference. He used local material advantageously, and worked combining the skills of a modeller and a carver. His paintings too take on expressionist dimensions like his sculptures, which are filled with force and vitality.
Some of his sculptures are preserved and displayed at locations including Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan, Late Rani Chanda Collection & Academy of Fine Arts, Calcutta, H.K. Kejriwal Collection & Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat, Bangalore, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, Reserve Bank of India, New Delhi, Jane and Kito de Boer, Dubai, and the Delhi Art Gallery in New Delhi.
A portrait bust in bronze by a student of Ramkinkar at Santiniketan, the sculptor K. S. Radhakrishnan, is found in the entrance of the Museum of Modern Art in Bhopal, India.
There is a book called "Dekhi Nai Fire" (meaning Haven't looked back.., Ananda Publication) based on Baij's life and work, written by another contemporary literary genius, Samaresh Basu after about ten years of extensive research. A famous bengali magazine, "Desh" used to publish articles written by Basu. Basu also died before completing the series. This book is a collection of all those articles on Baij's life.
Ritwik Ghatak made a documentary on Baij named 'Ramkinkar' (1975). A Calcutta publisher, Monfakira has an English book on ramkinkar, 'self-portrait', translated from Bengali by Sudipto Chakraborty of Ranchi. This book is very useful for people who read English.
1. ^ Exhibition of works of Ramkinkar Baij The Hindu, Oct 05, 2007.
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