Forty years after his last show, artist KH Ara's works on display in Mumbai
Painter KH Ara's first solo show was at the Artists' Centre in 1978. 40 years later, some of the works from his private collection are being shown at 'KH Ara: A Private Collection' as a homage to the artist.
Krishnadas Howladas Ara was a part of the Progressive Artists' Group, which also included M F Hussain, H A Gade, S H Raza, F N Souza and Sadanand Bakre. While other artists from this group left the city, Ara remained and established his career not just as an artist of merit but also a mentor to the budding painters of the group.
Born in Secunderabad in 1914, Ara was the son of a chauffeur. He ran away from home at the age of seven and came to Mumbai, where he would live until his death in 1985. He worked as a car cleaner and houseboy. His talent was recognised by journalist Walter Langhammer, who got him enrolled into the JJ School of Art.
This painter began his career by drawing landscapes, but is best remembered for his still life and nude paintings. Ara is known as the first contemporary Indian artist to adopt the subject of the female nude. Qaroon Thapar, the curator of the latest show, says that Ara was not in a position to afford art material and would paint on both sides of a paper.
"The exhibition showcases some of his paintings that show the intensity with which he worked," said Thapar to Times of India. He says that it took him three years to put together the exhibition and that it was not easy to convince the family who owned the paintings to allow him to exhibit them.
'KH Ara: A Private Collection' can be viewed at the Viewing Room from 7 to 29 April.