She had been unwell for the past eight years and became bedridden for the last three. Given this fact, what do we do, for instance, with the immense art-historical vacuum in the case of female students who earned degrees from art schools around India in pre and post-Independence times whose careers were either subsumed by their practice of housewifely vocations or their decisions to follow other better-paying, professional paths? The editor of the magazine, Kishen Jhangiani, had just returned from a course of study in Paris; he liked Bhanu’s sketches, which Meera Devi had shown him, and she began to work as an illustrator at Fashion & Beauty. Abhishek Poddar, the mind behind the project, guides V Shoba through a preview, Aditya Mani Jha Her studies of temple sculptures and busts can be read retrospectively as prescient forays into design and draughtsmanship, and the scholarly rigour that marked her research that was driven by a quest for authenticity, but combined with a sartorial inventiveness that was entirely the result of her innate talent. Further confirmation came, years later, from, Joshi), artist and long-time committee member of the, When we find ourselves gazing, our breath taken away, at works like, And indeed, as we learn from Athaiya’s autobiographical notes, this painting may well draw on her own experience of such a sacred space when, as a student at Bombay’s. See: Ranjit Hoskote, Unpacking the Studio: Celebrating the Jehangir Sabavala Bequest (Mumbai: CSMVS, 2015). Gade, M.F. Bhanu Athaiya passes away: Indian cinema's pioneering costume designer brought authenticity, style to films Those who came into Bhanu Athaiya's orbit remember a wildly creative yet methodic professional, who brought an impressive formal expertise to the still nascent field of costume design in Indian films. The now seemingly forgotten watercolorist and art historian N M Kelkar, who wrote the painstakingly researched, detailed and substantial text for a centenary volume of the JJ School in 1957, bears witness to the influence of the Solomon pedagogy (I have preserved Kelkar’s charmingly old-fashioned colonial spelling of proper and place names): “Scores of private schools trained students who appeared at the examinations held in Bombay, and the influence of the methods followed in the Sir JJ School extended to wider areas such as the native Indian States. She proceeded to recite a string of names of long-vanished painters, some of whom appear in the catalog for the September 1953 ‘Progressive Artists’ Group’ exhibition in which Bhanu Rajopadhye, then 24 years old, was invited to show two of her paintings, one of which was ‘Prayers’. One could write whole essays about each elegant design, what it borrows from, which stylistic features are wholly derived and which are wholly invented. “Arre ka Progressives-na gheun baslaayes,” she said in her genially peremptory manner. Sign up to receive interesting long form stories of Politics, The editor of the magazine, Kishen Jhangiani, had just returned from a course of study in Paris; he liked Bhanu’s sketches, which Meera Devi had shown him, and she began to work as an illustrator at. From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Bhanu Athaiya (born Bhanumati Annasaheb Rajopadhye; 28 April 1929 – 15 October 2020) was an Indian costume designer. [1] Bhanu Rajopadhye Athaiya, undated handwritten notes. Ara, H.A. Her The Art of Costume Design (New Delhi: Harper Collins, 2010), explores in lavish detail all the components that make a Bollywood movie so visually arresting--the clothes, the fabrics, the make up, even the jewellery without which no Indian outfit is ever complete. Bhanu Athaiya is a “Progressive long lost to view; she is indeed, the only woman Progressive,” art critic Ranjit Hoskote writes in the catalogue for an upcoming auction. Abalal became Shahu’s court painter; Dhurandhar became the Headmaster, or seniormost Indian teacher, at his alma mater in Bombay, as well as a sought-after society painter and a popular illustrator. While the sari was normally lavished with Bhanu’s creativity, it was the choli that she also loved to experiment with. As a child and teenager, Bhanu Rajopadhye Athaiya was certainly exposed to this idiom, and it informs a number of her works, including ‘Women holding pots’ (watercolor on paper, c. 1945), ‘Ranga Mahotsava’ (watercolor on paper, c. 1950), and ‘Vishwamitra’ (watercolor on paper, c. 1950). When we find ourselves gazing, our breath taken away, at works like ‘Prayers’ (oil on canvas, c. 1950) and ‘Lady in Repose’ (oil on canvas, c. 1950), we recognize the degree to which cinema’s gain was painting’s loss. She was privileged enough for her talents to be nurtured from an early age, having had access to opportunities because of her class mobility. Born Bhanumati Annasaheb Rajopadhye, she grew up in a family that balanced its traditional Brahmin lineage with a newly emergent cosmopolitan modern sensibility in Kolhapur. As I was speaking of the. received enthusiastic support from an adventurous Bombay frame-maker and gallerist. The refined and multilingually well-read Khanna was doubtless well attuned to the analogy Souza intended with the Left-wing Progressive Writers Association (PWA), whose members included a constellation of brilliant Urdu writers including Saadat Hasan Manto, Sahir Ludhianvi, Ismat Chugtai, Kaifi Azmi, Sajjad Zaheer, and Rajinder Singh Bedi. Athaiya’s ingenious articulations of sartorial modernity by adapting old traditions and reimagining textile legacies is wonderfully manifest in Lot 30, Eve’s Weekly Spread Pages, a set of 14 prints, sized 17×26 inches, dated from February to June 1952, estimated at Rs 30,000-50,000, with a starting bid of Rs 3,000, unlike her oil on canvas Prayer, estimated at Rs 1-1.5 crore. Bhanu Athaiya, India's first Oscar winner, passes away at 91 due to prolonged illness Bhanu Athaiya, who won an Oscar for her work in the 1983 epic film … These illustrative sketches serve to remind us that the real pity isn’t that Athaiya didn’t pursue painting, it’s that despite her immense contributions to the Indian experience of modernity, she was never considered an artist. had nothing in common with the more School of Paris-leaning painterly ambitions of the PAG. princely states were Mysore, Travancore, Baroda, Indore, Aundh, and Kolhapur, where Bhanu Rajopadhye Athaiya was born and grew up. He is perhaps totally on point, but only if one subscribes to an understanding of art whose purview excludes Femmage. The accepted canon of modern Indian art, as fixated on the Progressives, is no older than the 1990s, as I have argued elsewhere – in my curatorial essay for an exhibition of modern Indian art drawn from the Abby Weed Grey collection, which is part of the New York University Art Collection. Like the Pant Pratinidhis, who ruled the princely state of Aundh, near Poona (now Pune), the Bhosales also collected art and displayed it, inviting the general audience to view it on specific occasions, thus inaugurating a museum culture in Kolhapur. The danger lies in the possibility that what we unearth, were we to reconsider the past through less gender and caste-biased eyes, runs the risk of forcing a reconfiguration of existing value. 14-17. Gade, M.F. Costume designer Bhanu Athaiya was the first Indian to win an Oscar. Bhanu Athaiya Photogallery at ETimes In her free time she would develop these skills and soon her work won her many awards in local competitions,’ Athaiya recounts. [7] For an account of this cultural topography, see Ranjit Hoskote, ‘Celebrating the Sthala-Purana and the Sandhi-sthana: The Polycentric Cultural Universe of Rethinking the Regional’, in Sheetal R. Darda & Manisha Patil eds. Sustained by distinguished artists as well as prominent citizens, its program of exhibitions addressed a larger audience for the arts. Bhanu Athaiya by Ranjit Hoskote Bhanu Athaiya: The legacy of a long-hidden sun I. Raza, and F.N. counted among her friends many of the master spirits who had defined the direction of postcolonial Indian art. proceeded to recite a string of names of long-vanished painters, some of whom appear in the catalog for the September 1953 ‘Progressive Artists’ Group’ exhibition in which Bhanu Rajopadhye, then 24 years old, was invited to show two of her paintings, one of which was. [12]. Gaitonde, and the inducted PAG member Krishen Khanna, who also wrote the elegant introduction to the catalog. Bhanu Athaiya Photogallery. On December 2, Mumbai-based auction house Prinseps has organised an auction dedicated to Athaiya. I had interviewed Oscar-winning costume stylist, Bhanu Athaiya (April 28, 1929 — October 15, 2020) for a trilogy of screenplay books I was writing … Born Bhanumati Annasaheb Rajopadhye, she grew up in a family that balanced its traditional Brahmin lineage with a newly emergent cosmopolitan modern sensibility in Kolhapur. The loss was always ours. Costume designer Bhanu Athaiya who was India's first Oscar winner passed away in Mumbai on October 15 at the age of 91. at the forefront of the anti-caste and anti-untouchability movements, and played a stellar role in the process of the social revolution that would be taken to its Constitutional conclusion by the towering figure of Dr. B R Ambedkar, whose work they supported. The second of Bhanu Athaiya’s formative contexts is the pedagogy of the Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy School of Art as shaped and articulated during the successive regimes of Principals Gladstone Solomon and Charles Gerard, with its emphasis on a Bombay Orientalism, and its lineage of influential pedagogues, including M V Dhurandhar, G H Nagarkar, Jagannath Ahivasi, and R D Dhopeshwarkar. Bhanu Athaiya Photogallery at ETimes ‘I grabbed the opportunity,’ she recounts. Such was the ethos within which Athaiya grew up and recognized her calling in life. Revisiting them reminds us of the fact of their reproducibility, which the art world perceives as a signal for their non-value, when coded into their being is the idea of their dissemination, from the page to being part of one’s wardrobe, using a circular economy that remains still at women’s disposal in India, making them so much a part of our lived experience and visual culture, it’s easy to forget they were engineered by someone. Among the eleven artists featured in the show were, in addition to Rajopadhye, five of the PAG’s six founder members, K.H. Books on Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt and other European painters lay scattered in her home. It is, already – the artist was 21 – the work of an artist whose sensibility would be described as feminist today, a woman who knew her mind and would make her way in the world. In the second half of his career, he returned to his native region of Bohemia-Moravia and aligned himself with the rising Slav nationalism that would eventually result, after the collapse of the Austro- Hungarian Empire, in the emergence of Czechoslovakia. Like the Pant Pratinidhis, who ruled the princely state of Aundh, near Poona (now Pune), the Bhosales also collected art and displayed it, inviting the general audience to view it on specific occasions, thus inaugurating a museum culture in Kolhapur. Among the eleven artists featured in the show were, in addition to Rajopadhye, five of the PAG’s six founder members, K.H. Although he died when she was barely ten years old, Annasaheb had already set his daughter off on her journey. Bhanu Athaiya (R) with Kumar Shahani and Prithviraj Chavan during her book launch in New Delhi. active there. The Group was unified by friendship and shared circumstances rather than a coherent aesthetic or political program. While the protagonist of this painting is confident in her sensuousness, unself-conscious in her pose,‘Lady in Repose’ does not offer itself up for the delectation of the male gaze. Hazarnis, and A.A. Raiba. Her father. … Bhanu Athaiya on her book ‘The Art of Costume Design’ Launch In 2012, she got diagnosed with brain tumour and decided to return her Oscar to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). [9] Partha Mitter, The Triumph of Modernism: India’s Artists and the Avant-garde 1922-1947 (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2007), p. 186. Yesterday one of Indian film’s true stars Bhanu Athaiya passed away at age 91. Nadkarni, elder statesman among Bombay’s art critics, who first told me that Bhanu Athaiya had trained as a painter and had once shown alongside the members of the Progressive Artists' Group (PAG).. Like many of our conversations, this one took place at the Pundole Art Gallery in the early 1990s. Until then, I had known of Athaiya as a sophisticated and celebrated designer of costumes for the popular Hindi cinema; she had won an Oscar for Best Costume Design for Richard Attenborough’s 1982 masterwork, Gandhi. Langhammer, Emmanuel Schlesinger, Rudolf von Leyden, and Kekoo Gandhy. Tribute Bhanu Athaiya (1929-2020): Oscar-winning costume designer was a cut above the rest Her iconic creations shaped the look of Hindi cinema between the 1950s and the 2000s. Among the artists that Kolhapur produced were such renowned figures as Abalal Rehman and Mahadev Vishwanath Dhurandhar, both trained at Bombay’s Sir JJ School of Art. These, coupled with her notes, offer a picture of a woman artist who derived from the work of other women—from Amrita Sher-Gil’s burnished palette to the penitent form of nuns at the convent in which she lived during her art student years to a recollection of how colour appeared on widowed bodies. [7]. She was born in Kolhapur, then- British India. larger cultural topography that extended across Bombay Presidency, several princely states, a swathe of territory in what is today north Karnataka, as well as two swathes, one that was then part of the Central Provinces & Berar, and another that was then in the Nizam’s Dominions, which are today part of Maharashtra. In 1921, Solomon led his students to the Ajanta Caves, insisting on the ‘scientific’ character of their image-making techniques and derogating the Bengal School’s mystical cultural- nationalist idea that they embodied the overflow of religious devotion. This form of tactical collaboration towards a group show was an established feature of life in the Bombay art world from 1952, when the Jehangir Art Gallery opened its doors, until the decisive rise of commercial galleries in the metropolis during the 1990s. Did they pass on their skills to their children or the neighbourhood kids, as either craft tutors or drawing teachers, and in doing so, did they not maintain a form of practice? And let me state this emphatically: there were more continuities than disjunctures between the Progressives and their unsung contemporaries than we might be led to believe by the classic avant-garde narrative, with its notions of a complete rupture with the foregoing and an autogenesis of the dramatically new. This charming nativity account is analogous to the foundation stories of many religions, in which the advent of the prophet, mystic or righteous teacher of choice is said to have been preceded by a period of darkness, ignorance, or decadence. In my curatorial essay for an exhibition of the polymathic theatre-maker, Alkazi’s early paintings and drawings restored to public view for the first time in many decades, I wrote of some of these dazzling figures and offered a glimpse into the cultural domain they had created in late colonial and early postcolonial Bombay: “Offered studio and rehearsal space at the Bhulabhai Institute, where Ravi Shankar ran a music academy, Kinnara, and artists like M F Husain and V S Gaitonde had studios, Alkazi inaugurated an ambitious program of theatre training [Theatre Unit]. ‘Unfortunately, the members of PAG including KH Ara felt that I should concentrate on painting and thought that I was degrading myself by moving to cinema.’, In the mid-1960s, while many of the members of the by-then defunct PAG were trying to secure funding to either go to Europe or continue to live there, Athaiya received a six-month scholarship from the French government to study fashion design in Paris. Nude Study of Woman sitting with White Accents by Bhanu Athaiya, 1949, Bust Geometrical Plan of a Sculpture by Bhanu Athaiya, circa 1948, Looking back on her life in Bombay as a young woman in her twenties, Athaiya would write of herself and her artist contemporaries, “We would often meet at social get-togethers at Mulk Raj Anand’s place in Colaba, where we used to meet the likes of Ebrahim Alkazi and discuss the latest trends and happenings in the world of art. Devi had taken Athaiya under her wing and roof when she moved to Bombay. He also bought a Singer sewing machine for her and other tailoring paraphernalia. Meanwhile, the entrepreneurial Kirloskar family developed a printing and publishing center at their industrial township of Kirloskarwadi near Kolhapur, and were important contributors to the art scenario; distinguished artists vied to produce cover designs and images for their triad of magazines, Kirloskar, Stree, and Manohar. She wanted, quite simply, to be self-sufficient and independent, capable of supporting her widowed mother rather than being a burden. He painted portraits in oil on canvas in the British academic style. If anything, we are made aware of our questionable locus as viewers of a private, even intimate moment. Kolhapur was a cultural hub, energetic in its contribution to visual arts, cinema, theatre, music, and culture at large. Its artists – among them Abanindranath Tagore, Asit Kumar Haldar, and Abdur Rahman Chughtai – drew on the exemplars of Mughal, Rajput, Safavid, and Qajar painting. Theatre person, dancer, and elocutionist, Hima Devi was always delighted to discover young protégés (a little over four decades after these events, she would teach the present writer drama at school). Bhanu's ode to the Progressive Artists' Group, Bhanu Athaiya: The Oscar Winning Designer, Capturing the Zeitgeist : Progressive Artists’ Group, VS Gaitonde's Paintings - Technique And Processes. Eve's Weekly Collection by Bhanu Athaiya, 1953 Keeping the bridal festivities in mind Bhanu’s wedding look was a dramatic offering of embroidery for the sari worn with an elegant long-sleeved choli. My entry point into the history of the JJ School of Art pedagogy will begin, perhaps to the bafflement of some readers, with Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939), a painter, illustrator, and graphic artist of Czech origin and a subject of the Austro-Hungarian Empire who had shaped his career in Paris in the late 19th century. Bhanu Athaiya (born Bhanumati Annasaheb Rajopadhye; 28 April 1929 – 15 October 2020) was an Indian costume designer.She was born in Kolhapur, then-British India.She was best known for being the costume designer for the 1982 movie Gandhi.She won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design for her Gandhi designs.. She has recounted in her memoir social gatherings at Mulk Raj Anand’s apartment in Colaba, which included guests such as Ibrahim Alkazi. Baboorao Painter and his colleagues trained landscape and figure painters as vocational apprentices, but Mr. Dalvi had a class in Kolhapoor teaching students who appeared at the examinations held by the government. That she is a nun is clear from the distinctive habit she wears, with its serge tunic and coif. She communes, in the sanctuary evoked by the artist through a burnished palette, with the cross that symbolizes the Saviour and His promise of salvation and redemption. The Progressives and their associates were often in and out of Prafulla’s mother’s home in Girgaon – some of these impecunious young men were accorded refuge there, from time to time, when they found themselves temporarily without habitation. It was D.G. One wonders whether the original illustrations have survived. I was rereading some of the chapters this morning; holding the book again felt special, she has inspired my research process immensely. [8] Bhanu Rajopadhye Athaiya, ‘Bhanu Rajopadhye’s association with the Progressive Artists' Group (typescript dated ‘Bombay: May 2010’). IF WE DARE to look beyond the official narratives of Indian modernist art history, we might finally begin to uncover the vast range of speculative, non-canonical accounts that have always run parallel. ‘As students, we were given a lot of opportunities to visit fashion houses and see the big names in the couture world at work. In any case, the Progressives did not come together until 1947-1948, and constituted, as I have argued elsewhere, more a moment than a movement, its ephemeral existence assuming fleshly solidity in the nostalgic retrospection of artists, art critics, and art historians rather than in the reality of its brief apogee. John Griffiths between 1872 and 1881, but the Bengal School had monopolized the Ajanta cult by setting in motion the practice of artistic ‘pilgrimages’ to this ‘shrine’ in 1909, at the height of the anti-colonial Swadeshi movement of self-reliance and self-rule that had begun, The now seemingly forgotten watercolorist and art historian N M Kelkar, who wrote the painstakingly researched, detailed and substantial text for a centenary volume of the JJ School in 1957, bears witness to the influence of the Solomon pedagogy (I have preserved Kelkar’s charmingly old-fashioned colonial spelling of proper and place names): “Scores of. The enduring fascination with Margaret Thatcher for authors, filmmakers and musicians. In her autobiographical book, The Art of Costume Design (2010), Bhanu Athaiya writes of how her father noticed her interest in art and got her a private art tutor when she was eight. Bhanu Athaiya. These contexts have unjustly been consigned to oblivion, erased from a dominant narrative in which modernism is believed to arrive on the Bombay art scene only with the dramatic emergence of the Progressive Artists' Group in the late 1940s. In her notes, she reflects on what it really meant to have to choose between two equally serious pursuits of creativity, even though her peers didn’t quite see it that way. Athaiya wasn’t too sure if she was up to it, since it was radically different than the glamourous outfits she’d design for Bollywood. 14-17. endemic to much of the art being produced in western India between the 1920s and 1940s. ‘I, along with other upcoming artists such as MF Husain, Krishen Khanna, Raza, Ara, Souza, Gade, and others would meet and hear talks and accounts of the changing scene in art from other parts of the world,’ she has written in her notes. The Bhanu Athaiya Estate Sale auction totaled ₹88 lakhs and the Atul Bose Evening Sale totaled ₹1.64 crores The Bhanu Athaiya Estate Sale saw strong interest across the board with a particularly excited flurry of bids for the watercolor paintings. Some governments gave scholarships and sent students to Bombay for training. [2] Bhanu Rajopadhye Athaiya, The Art of Costume Design (Noida: HarperCollins, 2010), pp. It was certainly the norm in the 1950s and 1960s when the Jehangir Art Gallery at Kala Ghoda, the Artists Aid Centre (later the Artists Centre) on Rampart Row, and the Taj Art Gallery on the Apollo Bunder seafront were the only available venues for exhibition. Bhanu Athaiya: The graceful costume designer who vouched for film industry’s respect for creativity With news coming in of the passing away of Bhanu Rajopadhye Athaiya, I’m reminded of my conversations with her, soon after I had attended the launch of her book, ‘The Art of Costume Design’ Alkazi’s Bhulabhai experiment has a pivotal centrality in the history of modernism.… Whether or not they used this term as self-identification, Alkazi and his Bhulabhai circle were caught up in the historic project of casting themselves as a self-aware, critically nimble and dynamic avant-garde.” [15]. Kolhapur demonstrates with compelling clarity that a city does not have to be metropolitan to be cosmopolitan. advertisement. Lady in Repose by Bhanu Athaiya, circa 1950. [10], In 1928, as colonial India’s new capital, New Delhi, being designed by the architects' Herbert Baker and Edwin Lutyens, began to gain concrete shape, Solomon secured for his students a prestigious commission to decorate the Imperial Secretariat. India, Around the world and many more.. Rosalyn D’Mello is an art critic and the author of A Handbook For My Lover. Among these visitors were the dancers Martha Graham and Jean Erdman, the poet Stephen Spender, and the artists Isamu Noguchi and Alexander Calder. Mumbai: Costume designer Bhanu Athaiya, India’s first Oscar winner, died at her home on Thursday after prolonged illness, her daughter said.She was 91. Ranjit Hoskote is an Indian poet, art critic, cultural theorist, and independent curator. The real art-historical tragedy was never that Athaiya didn’t pursue painting, but that she stopped being considered an artist because the staggering work she did do was not regarded as lofty enough to be received as art. In an ideal world, all the lots would be part of the archives of a meticulously maintained art and design museum. He would bring along catalogs with fashion plates showing pictures of hats, fur coats, gowns, pretty blouses, and pullovers from the Army and Navy Stores. On a more positive note, though, one gleans how her having chosen fashion over traditional painting was not just the more viable choice but was indeed her calling. The coffee-table book Bhanu Rajopadhye Athaiya: The Art of Costume Design (Collins), with a gushing foreword by Attenborough, was launched in Delhi on Friday. However, it is unlikely that Khanna, as a young merchant banker – he had joined the Grindlays Bank in 1946, from which he would resign to set out as an independent artist only in 1961 – would display any manifest enthusiasm for an anti-capitalist position. [4], Likewise, in their curatorial essay for an exhibition drawn from the collection of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, the art historians Mortimer Chatterjee and Tara Lal have demonstrated the fatuity of constructing a canon that privileges the Progressives as the only major artists on the Indian scene in the 1950s and 1960s. Most Indians know her as the woman who walked up to the stage at the Academy Awards in a powder blue sari, to receive the gold statuette for her creative genius as a costume designer, while the notes of the theme song of Gandhi (1982) played in the background almost four decades ago.. The Museum of Art & Photography in Bengaluru promises to be a celebration of India in images. (The auction of artworks from the estate of Bhanu Rajopadhye Athaiya, hosted by the online auction house Prinseps, will take place on December 2nd, 2020), From “Lockdown Garden” Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Akhil Sood At the high school annual competition, I won three awards for my paintings on a flower study, a glass painting, and a sketch of a young girl with a deer, the latter inspired by a Grecian-style sculpture.” [8], Coming to Bombay by Bhanu Athaiya, circa 1948. Among the artists that Kolhapur produced were such renowned figures as, advertisements of the Art Nouveau period were created by Mucha. In the foreword to her book The Art of Costume Design, Attenborough wrote: "It took me 17 long years to set up Gandhi, my dream film, and just 15 minutes to make up my mind that Bhanu Athaiya … Her genially peremptory manner books on Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt and other tailoring paraphernalia come together until,. Some level, Athaiya ’ s creativity, it was D.G R with... 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