Rameshwar BrootaRameshwar Broota

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"I love to believe that it was I who traveled through the long stretches of time and space. Here I am, standing, and there he is, my old self, peeping through the canvas. The cave man used to scratch and draw on those dark cave walls the movement of his fellow beings and some running animals. I believe I must have existed even then as an artist, as I do now."

Born in 1941 in Delhi, Rameshwar Broota graduated in Fine Arts from the Delhi College of Art in 1954. Soon after his graduation, the artist joined the institution as a lecturer. In 1958, he moved on to Jamia Milia Islamia and then to the Sarda Ukil College. Since 1984, Broota has served as Head of Department at Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi.

Broota’s work easily combines the mythical and the real, and creates a sense of absurdity through the striking differences between the two. The icons and images that he uses are all part of his subconscious self. As an artist, Broota feels that he may choose to reveal or recreate the immediate reality, but he also dwells in the inexhaustible past. “The unconscious is a store house of immense knowledge and impressions which an individual absorbs and retains with him. When he assumes the body of an infant, he inherits the sum total of the experiences of his predecessor from time immemorial”, he points out. In his Gorilla series, for instance, the artist says he "tried to depict a pre-human reality typified by a terrifying brutality… Over the years that feeling has been toned down. Now there is a certain mystic quality to my paintings.”

The artist is known for his paintings of male bodies, both muscular and emaciated, testament to the passage of time. Over the years, Broota has perfected his unique technique, discovered by accident, in which he first applies layers of different coloured paint on the surface followed by a final coat in a dark colour, and then scratches and scrapes away the upper layers of the painting with a sharp knife, to literally unearth his luminous images.

Broota has received the National Award from the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, three times: in 1980, 1981 and 1984. He was also awarded the ‘Kala Vibhushan’ by the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS), New Delhi, in 1997. Broota has exhibited far and wide, his most recent solo shows being 'Counterparts' at Vadehra Art Gallery at Shridharani Gallery, both in New Delhi, in 2009; ‘Photographs by Rameshwar Broota’ at Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, and Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, in 2008; and ‘Archeology of Experience’ organized by Vadehra Art Gallery at Shridharani Gallery, New Delhi, the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai, and Gallery 88, Kolkata, in 2004-05.

Rameshwar Broota lives and works in New Delhi.

Artworks

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