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Art Watch : Gopal Subhedar

Gopal Subhedar is our Art Watch Artist for today. This section is brought to you by Art From Us and Divvya Nirula. The Artists we spotlight here can be from any field, across nay discipline, and using a variety of media. We share here why we think they are important and worth watching. Be it genius creators of eras gone by. Or the upcoming contemporary artist who is yet to have their first show. All come under the purview of Art Watch.

Subhedar is acclaimed, in India and internationally with his works finding a home in museums and private collections alike. He is highly celebrated for his artistic contributions and achievements to the field of contemporary Indian art. And has received recognition for his solo exhibitions and countless gallery shows. He is renowned not so much for his subjects or his accolades. But the process that he has honed to express himself and immortalise the world as he sees it. His medium of choice is oil on acrylic sheet.

His uncomplicated concepts make one involuntarily smile. The impact of the vibrant colouration that he loves, make the depictions of common men and women on canvas interesting. Further, he has worked on an individualistic style with distorting the forms in his paintings, particularly the faces. Small lips and narrow eyes with a nose, which is elongated as much as possible. It is a deliberation to move away from a realistic in depiction. The eyes look rather sombre and capture the viewers attention. It has also been said that his bright exaggeration of human forms gave his figures a hint of caricatures.

Why Gopal Subhedar?

Born in 1938, hailing from Gulbarga, he has painted different versions of South Indian faces. A disciple of master painter Late A A Almelkar in the early seventies, Subhedar studied at Sir. J. J. School of Arts. He aubsequently entered the professional art world in 1972 with his debut solo show at Hyderabad. He is a winner of several awards which includes Lalit Kala Academy Lifetime achievement award, Bombay Art Society, Art Society of India.

Subhedar too followed the prototype of many artists starting his journey with still life pictures, nature and landscapes. However, he was able to clearly define his unique pictorial vocabulary. His connection with his roots and penchant for learning the nuances of art, along with his determination led him to his quest for fresh ideas. Unbeknownst, most of his earlier paintings are a testimony to his experiences during his early struggle. He employs certain style in his paintings that renders them different from the rest. Initially working with the oil on canvas medium, he portrayed the harmony between rural masses and nature.

Artistic Journey

Gopal Subhedar explored the Indian Mythology deeply and did a series on ‘Ganesh Puran’ & portrayed ‘Bal Ganapathi’ in various poses in 1988. And the next year he followed it with a series of 25 paintings again with mythological themes. The choosing of popular anecdotes from Ramayana & Mahabharata garnered him a with a portfolio that once again was highly appreciated. Invigorated with the response, he executed a series on ‘Kaliya Mardhana’ & ‘Radha Krishna Saras’. Subhedar had definitely found a platform that merged with his craft and withing four years he had done another series on ‘Vishnu Dashavatara’. In 1994, a series ‘Navagraha’ received many accolades. In 1997 he did another exhibition on the horses titled ‘Temptation’. With every series he took heart.

Subhedar was invited for several demonstrations and lectures all over India & abroad like ‘Sany Antonyo Art College, California, USA in 1998 & in his home state of Karnataka. Though he couldn’t hold a retrospective of his works in his lifetime, his wife and daughter fulfilled his desire.


For more Artists handpicked by Divvya Nirula – explore the ART WATCH archive.

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