R. B. Bhaskaran
R. B. Bhaskaran
BORN IN MADRAS, R. B. BHASKARAN IS BEST KNOWN FOR HIS SERIES ON CATS, AND ON COUPLES, AS ALSO FOR HIS REJECTION OF THE ‘RESTRICTIVE’ NEED TO ESTABLISH AN INDIAN CULTURAL IDENTITY THROUGH HIS WORKS, WHICH HE FEELS IS ‘AN INSTINCTIVE BY-PRODUCT OF ONE’S WORK’.
He grew up in a family of artists and his biggest inspiration was his maternal uncle, Namashivayam Pillai, who ran a business painting film banners. Learning to paint with his uncle as a child, Bhaskaran obtained formal education in painting at the Government College of Art and Craft, Madras. He also trained in printmaking in Israel, and in making frescos at Banasthali Vidyapeeth in Rajasthan.
Cats are to Bhaskaran what horses were to M. F. Husain and Sunil Das. The series on the feline creature came about after one of the specie strayed into his studio several years ago. The series titled Couple was inspired by marriage photographs of couples found in households across India, which, according to him, are not just memories of an important day but imbued with meanings on the traditional man-woman relationship. Another of his acclaimed series comprises paintings on the poems of renowned music composer Ilayaraja, who predominantly works in Tamil cinema.
A recipient of several government fellowships, Bhaskaran served as the principal of Government College of Art, Chennai, and of the College of Art, Kumbakonam. He was also the chairman of the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, in 2002. The artist lives and works in Chennai.