KH Ara

Krishnaji Howlaji Ara was an important artist in Bombay Progressive Artists Group and founded the artists’ Centre in Mumbai. Largely believed to be self-taught, Ara is a distinguished artist and regarded as the one of the courageous artists of post-Independence era, who painted innumerable still-lives and voluptuous female nudes though he began his career painting beautiful landscapes and socio-historical subjects. During his formative period, although Ara’s works show some influences of Colonial academism they gradually turned into more native style when he was exposed to Bengal School. In 40’s and 50’s, Ara began to understand the formal aspects of the Western Modernism, drawing cues from the Fauvist, Henri Matisse and the Post-Impressionistic attitudes of Paul Cezanne. Most of the still-life paintings and portraits that were drawn from his surroundings show a great deal of influence of these artists. His style however is naïve, expressing the psyche of the artist while his choice of medium was oil and gouache. The figures are treated in a sheer expressionistic mode using raw hues in an impasto like technique which is finally encapsulated within sturdy contours. The hard brush strokes are left visible as the artist deliberately employs this technique leaving his gestural strokes on canvas.

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