A. Ramachandran

A. Ramachandran was born in Attingal, Kerala, in 1935. Early in his life, he developed an interest in the arts, including painting, music and literature. He learnt Carnatic music for ten years and established himself as a professional singer before he took to painting. He also did an M.A. in Malayalam literature and came into close contact with the literary figures of the time, especially those associated with the Progressive Movement in Kerala. In 1957, he went to study art at Santiniketan. His close interaction of eight years with his teachers Ramkinkar Baij and Benode Behari Mukherjee, as well as their teacher, Nandalal Bose, left a lasting impression on his artistic career. In 1964, he moved to Delhi and joined Jamia Millia Islamia University. An inspiring teacher to his numerous students, he was simultaneously recognised as an important Indian artist through many significant exhibitions. With his distinctive, monumental style and deeply humanist concern, Ramachandran’s stature as an artist grew with each of his exhibitions. During the seventies, Ramachandran developed into a versatile artist. He worked in different media like sculpture, graphics, writing, designing stamps and illustrating children’s books. He has to his credit a score of essays on art and a well-researched book on the mural paintings of Kerala temples. With Yayati (1984-86), he started an open engagement with the visual languages of the Eastern art traditions. A much-felicitated artist, Ramachandran received the National Award in 1969 and 1972, the Noma Concours for Picture Book Illustrations in 1978 and 1980, the Parishad Samman from the Sahitya Kala Parishad in 1991, the Gagan-Abani Puraskar from Visva Bharati University in 2000, and the Manaviyam Award and the Ravi Varma Puraskaram from the Government of Kerala in 2001. He was honoured as professor emeritus at Jamia Millia Islamia University and as fellow of Lalit Kala Akademi in 2002. He was also conferred with the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2005.

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