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Arpana Caur

Born in Delhi in 1954, Arpana grew up in an environment that was rich in art and music.  Arpana’s mother is an eminent novelist, whose influence resonates in Aparna’s very essence.  Arpana attended Delhi University and graduated with MA in Literature. As a self taught painter, Aparna’s influence came from her mother’s writings, Punjabi folk literature, and the Pahari miniature tradition and Indian folk-art motifs.  Her art is a direct reflection of her personal experiences, inspired by local and world events.  Over the years, her main focus has centered on Indian Women,and capturing the essence of their day to day activities inspired by social , cultural and spiritual themes.

For the last three decades her exhibitions have been shown in Delhi, Mumbai, calcutta, London, Cardiff, Amsterdam, New York, Berlin and Munich.  She has participated in group shows in Japan, USA, Algiers, Singapore, Australia, Austria, Iraq, Cuba, USSR and Germany.

Reviews of her work have appeared time and again in Indian Press and TV and in the Guardian, New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Svanska Dagbladet, Dagens Nyhter, Die Welt etc. BBC and Star TV have made documentary films on her in the 1980’s apart from a documentary by Siddharth Tagore.

For the past 5 years, three of her works including ‘Nanak’ and ‘1984’ have been on display at the Sikh Art Gallery in the Smithsonian, Washington DC.  She had done murals from 1981 to 2005 in India and one in Hamburg, all of them noncommercial, as a commitment to Public Art.

Her Awards, commissions and exhibitions

  • All India Fine Arts Society Award 1985
  • Research Grant from Lalit Kala Akademi Delhi 1984-85
  • Commendation Certificate in Algeris Biennale
  • VI Triennele India Gold Medal for Painting, 1986
  • She has served on the Jury of National Exhibition, 1989, and Republic Day Pageants 1990,91,92
  • Nominated Eminent Artist by Lalit Kala Akademi
  • On Selection Committee of Republic Day Pageants for Ministry of Defence, Govt. Of India, 1995-1998
  • On Advisory Committee of National Gallery of Modern Art Delhi, Lalit Kala Academy and Sahitya Kala Parishad 2001.
  • Curator for 1986 “Woman Artist Exhibition” for the Festival of India held in USSR.

Artist’s Statement: India is an Exciting mixture of the old and new. Rural and Urban India Coexist in the strangest of ways. Even the capital of India , Delhi, my city, is dotted with medieval monuments and unwieldy urban growth, leading to a rich exciting  assault of imagery that inspires my being.  The Ajanta and Ellora and the Pahari miniaturists flow through my veins. Myths linger in the mind, along with tales of freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh and saints like Nanak, Kabir and Meerabai. Spiritually takes us to unbelievable heights.

Religious divisions tear us asunder.  It is a land of contradictions, but always growing, never stale, always full of surprises. This pulsating, expanding milieu has given rise to a rich and colorful visual art of which I am a small part. An art which is bold and contemporary., touching universal socio-political or philosophical issues, without losing the fragrance of its roots.

Paintings by Arpana Caur
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