The Lotus Pond


Paperback with flaps
152 mm × 229 mm
340 (incl. 32 pages in colour)


Painter, sculptor, graphic artist and designer, A. Ramachandran is not only among India’s most distinguished artists, but also a seasoned storyteller. Whether recalling a golden childhood in Kerala or recounting life-altering encounters with uncompromising masters of art, he does it with grace, finesse and empathy.

Illustrated with a selection of his best drawings and artworks, this book begins with a delightful autobiographical essay in which he tells us about his early fascination with oil paintings, temples, and the clock, besides his first Mona Lisa, whom he painted at the age of twelve: the maidservant. He follows it up with several captivating pieces of prose that reveal the depth, passion and humaneness of one of the finest minds at work in India.

A student of Malayalam literature, Ramachandran was deeply influenced by such stalwarts as Fyodor Dostoevsky, Vaikom Muhammad Basheer and Saadat Hasan Manto. In a career spanning six decades, his art practice underwent vital changes, moving from mythical forms to realism after he witnessed the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi in the 1980s. ‘I thought I’ll never do a political painting,’ he says. ‘After all, a painting is a beautiful object. A dead Christ is a beautiful painting.’

Ramachandran has ceaselessly experimented with visual language. In a life devoted to constant learning, his vision and style changed from sombre expressionism to lyrical and metaphysical engagement with nature. In the process, he has explored diverse scales and mediums.

In prose that is as remarkable as his art, he captures every episode that made his life eventful and turned him into the master he is.

Categories: ,

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.

‘The commingling of the organic and the decorative and the transformation of the liveliness of the first into the vivacity of the latter is what stands out in Ramachandran’s representations of nature. In other words the crux of his art is the elevation of fact to the level of visual enchantment using the language of decoration, which he also stresses is an old Indian preoccupation. The luxury and voluptuousness of nature and painting, the very seductiveness of colour and form this foregrounds, however, also makes the reception of his painting rather problematic especially to his more critical urban viewers. . . . And it is just as we were all beginning to believe that decoration and visual pleasure can no more be concerns of serious art that Ramachandran—sensing that the modernist view of the decorative misses the oriental notion of the decorative as a distinctive representational idiom—sets out to consciously and bravely write them back into contemporary art practice and open a tradition considered closed for contemporary rearticulation. If there is a contingent irony in his practice, it is that as a modern artist Ramachandran is condemned to paint for an audience who is not experientially or, at least as yet, theoretically equipped to respond to his art with an equal measure of empathy and critical engagement.’

R. Siva Kumar

‘A lovingly produced book by Copper Coin. Indies books may yet be the future, for they have less to lose from Right or Left. And what a fine artist A. Ramachandran is.’

C. P. Surendran

‘Ramachandran’s wonderful book “The Lotus Pond” deals with a lifetime of experiences; some I have read in the past and would go through again with a combination of empathy with his concerns as an artist and admiration for him as a fellow artist and writer. It has some wonderful sketches and drawings illustrating the perceptive text. Beautifully designed and produced, it serves as a fitting tribute to the journey of an artist of exceptional merit. I appreciate the fine compilation made by Vinod Bhardwaj.’

Gulammohammed Sheikh

‘It looks beautiful.’

Jeet Thayil


A. Ramachandran

1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680 [email protected]

    Free shipping
    for orders over 50%