Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala

Contemporary Art

In 1980s, Kerala artists who had migrated to Baroda for higher education in Fine Arts, had organized themselves under a common anti-retrogressive aesthetical platform, calling themselves as Indian Radical Painters and Sculptors Association. Though the name suggested a pan national presence, the non-Malayali presence in the group was almost insignificant and these artists were generally called ‘Radicals’ who have been instrumental in setting up an artistic model for many generations to follow, if not in their works, at least in their lives and attitude. A major shift happened in the Kerala art scene, when the Indian economy boomed by the beginning of the new millennium. Malayali artists namely Baiju Parthan, Bose Krishnamachari, T.V.Santhosh, Justin Ponmany, Riyas Komu, Shibu Natesan, Jitish Kallat etc. became prominent in the Indian art scene and most of them operated from Mumbai, Baroda and Delhi. The economic boom also helped in bringing a larger Malayali artists community into focus as Bose Krishnamachari curated a large scale survey show called ‘The Double-Enders’ in 2004. This travelling show for the first time presented the ‘Malayali Aesthetic Muscle’ for the world to see, appreciate and even envy. There was a flurry of activities in Indian art scene to rope in and engage Malayali artists as they could fetch good prices in the newly found market through their very impressive works.

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