When it comes to art in India, either we know the historic pieces created centuries ago like the Ajanta Ellora caves, or we know about controversial artists like M F Husain, who came into the limelight due to his nudist paintings, getting in trouble with religious organizations and using Bollywood heroines as muses.
However, apart from that, the general public has little to no knowledge about revolutionary artists of our country and their works.
One such artist would be Brij Mohan Anand, born in 1928 on 10th December and the youngest of 8 other siblings, who was an artist with unparalleled talent.
A child prodigy, Anand started to paint and draw from a tender age of 9, with his father and mother both supporting his talents to all extents.
Although he died back in 1986, his work is still highly relevant even in today’s time especially his paintings surrounding political themes.
He often used the extremely laborious scratchboard technique in many of his paintings, whereby you take some white China clay coated with black ink and apply it over a ply. Then by a scratching on the dried ink, with a particular blade, you create art out of the black background.
It an extremely intense and time-consuming technique that takes quite a while to master as it is easy to scratch the entire canvas and create a hole.
Anand also tried to intervene twice into political events, to present the dignitaries with a ‘painting in protest’. Once was in 1955 when he interrupted a reception hosted at the Rashtrapati Bhavan by then PM Jawaharlal Nehru and the 2nd time was with PM Indira Gandhi, in 1974, when he tried to speak out against the nuclear testing being done in India.
Anand was a brave and immensely talented artist, let us take a look at some of his pieces and the interesting trivia behind it:
It was due to the disturbing and extremely dark nature of his art, that no one considered it appropriate for placing it in their drawing rooms.
It is also interesting to note that he never sold these paintings, keeping them hidden.
For most of his life, Anand was a hidden artist, and most of his work was found only after his death in 1986.
His immense respect for women came from his mother who even after her untimely death, continued to support his art. Her last wish was specifically to preserve Anand’s art and as per them, his brother Krishan Mohan would take his paintings to Jeevan Singh in Amritsar so that they could be framed and then stored safely.
Interior Designer, Pooja Bansal commented on Anand’s art and the artist himself:
“Some artists become famous and some just pass away in oblivion till one day someone comes across their work to appreciate it and bring it in front of the masses. IAF introduced me to the artist ‘Brij Mohan Anand’, someone I had never heard or read about.
Contemporary to the Bombay Progressive group, the artist had no connection whatsoever with the group. He was a thinker, whose work spoke about the current issues. His work was ignored for so reason. His works evoke a melancholy but at the same time give hope for a better tomorrow. He didn’t have any formal training so no direct influences. He never went abroad. He was a man of his own creation.”
Image Credits: Google Images