Krishen KhannaKrishen Khanna

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Born in 1925 in what is now Faislabad in Pakistan, Krishen Khanna grew up in Lahore, only studying art after he graduated from college at evening classes held at the Mayo School of Art there. In 1947, Khanna’s family moved to Shimla as a result of the Partition of India and Pakistan, and Khanna was deeply affected by not only the change in his personal life, but also the socio-political chaos that reigned around him. His early works are reproductions of the scenes that were indelibly imprinted in his memory during this period. 



Most of Khanna’s work is figurative; he chose to not explore the abstraction that most of his contemporaries were delving into.

Bordering on the narrative, Khanna’s work captures moments in history, much like photographs do, but the artist’s technique is far from photo-realist. Khanna transfers his observations onto the canvas with spontaneity and exuberance, keeping the representational elements of his subject matter intact. The artist’s use of colour and his expressionist brushwork make the mundane rise to the challenge of the creative. . 

The ordinary, the seemingly unimportant or underrepresented-these form the crux of Khanna's artistic engagement. Krishen Khanna handles his figures with a rare sensitivity; his narratives are devoid of any heroic splendour. His works are indicative of his versatility and capacity for simultaneously understanding a gamut of human experiences



Recognizing his immense contribution to Indian Art, the Government of India has bestowed several honours upon him including the Lalit Kala Ratna from the President of India in 2004 and the Padma Shri in 1990. In 1964, Khanna was artist–in-residence at the American University, Washington D.C., and the next year, he won a fellowship from the Council for Economic and Cultural Affairs, New York following the travel grant they had awarded him in 1962. 



Krishen Khanna lives and works in New Delhi.