Journal of Arts & Ideas, no. 20-21 (March 1991) p. 33.


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A Tradition of the Modern

D Vivan Sundaram

Vivan Sundaram studied at the Fine Arts Faculty, Baroda, and the Slade School, London. He held his first solo exhibition in 1966 and has shown, since, in successive exhibitions all over India. He has exhibited in many group shows in India and in national shows compiled for presentation in several art centres abroad.

He works on a sustained pace in oils and, alternatively on paper and mixed media, which allow for a more immediate response to material stimuli, travels, and to contemporary political events. He exhibited, for example, a series of drawings on the Indian Emergency in 1976-77. Charcoal drawings titled Long Night exhibited in 1988 are now culminating in mixed media works on the devastation oflraa in the Gulf war.

His belief in collective action on the cultural front

has led him to organize exhibitions, artists' protests, international summer camps, theatre, workshops and seminars at the Kasauli Art Centre. He is a founder member, of the Journal of Arts and Ideas and is a trustee of the SafdarHashmi Memorial Trust (Sahmat) with which he has undertaken to organize exhibitions, auctions, extended art workshops in a Delhi basti and, more recently, a project titled, Artists Against Communalism.

As a custodian of the Amrita Sher-Gil archives of letters and photographs, Vivan has undertaken to exhibit and publish her work in 1972; he has helped Kumar Shahani write his script for a feature film on Sher-GiVs life, and has recently completed editing her Utters which are to be published by Kali Press, Delhi.


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