Everybody knows a Van Gogh or a Picasso. But how many of us know Abanindranath Tagore or Jamini Roy? Or for that matter, how many of us know anything about modern Indian art?

That is why the National Gallery for Modern Art (NGMA) conducts art walks, where the public is taken for a tour of the gallery as the curator explains the different styles, art schools and paintings.

The art walk titled ‘Introduction to modern Indian art' starts at 10.30 a.m. every Saturday and goes on for an hour and fifteen minutes.

“Modern Indian art is considered to have evolved from the 1850s,” begins Tejasvi Jain, senior curator at NGMA, who leads the walk.

The first gallery the group is taken to houses Rajput and Company school miniatures. Tejasvi explains the different perspectives and subject matter used by artists in miniatures, with the finest example being the Rag Malhar, a powerful miniature weaving a story around a raga.

The later paintings reflect European, Japanese and Chinese influences. M.F. Pithawala's paintings clearly show a strong European style, while the works of Abanindranath Tagore, a member of the Bengal School and the Father of Modern Indian Art, show a change from the idealistic to common, everyday scenes.

Birth of NGMA

An entire room dedicated just to Amrita Sher-Gil reveals to us the story behind the birth of NGMA. She bequeathed all her art to Jawaharlal Nehru after her mysterious death. Nehru in turn established the first NGMA in Delhi, just so he could display her art.

The paintings and photography from after the 1940s reveal the post-Independence and modernist themes of loss of identity, and questioning of reality and its depiction.

Captivating and informative, the curator's explanations were simple enough for even an art novice to understand them.

For details, contact ngma.bengaluru@gmail.com or call 22201027.

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