In 1974 we formed the New Group and had four shows, two in Delhi and two in Bombay before we disbanded. The members were Amitava Das, Mona Rai, Meena Dhanda, Rajni Mehta, the sculptor Pradeep Saxena and Jai Zharotia. After he returned from England, Manjit Bawa also joined us and we showed together in Jehangir Art Gallery. He and I were the only two painters in the group. In the 70s, for our exhibitions at the Lalit Kala, we used to sit in the gallery all day, but hardly anyone came. The spirit of the artists however was strong. There was a very strong sense of community. After four shows we broke up.
At that time in the 70s Garhi was an important centre, and some of the most important discussions took place there. Once a month every Monday someone would cook, it could even be Swami or Krishen. Once Maurice Graves came there. Francoise Guillot who was married to Jonas Salk at that time came and showed us her work. Another group called The Unknown came up at this time, with Arpita and Paramjit Singh and Rajendra Dhawan. Art was looked at in studios, and the discussions around it could be passionate. Manu Parekh's house in Jangpura, or the artist’s homes in Nizamuddin were the main residential areas where we all collected. Richard Bartholomew took all the photos before the exhibitions. At that time the artists or galleries used to produce two page catalogues, but Richard used to make very nice folders.
During that time Coffee House in Palika Kendra was also a kind of movement which attracted intellectuals every evening. IK Gujral, Raghu Rai and a host of other intellectuals used to gather... we paid 25 paise for coffee and 25 paise for palak vada. Rajendra Dhawan had just returned from Paris, his palette was very subdued, very East European. At that time J Swaminathan, Ambadas and Himmat Shah had a great show and then a party at J Swaminathan's home in WEA Karol Bagh. There was a lot of generosity and bonhomie. Another important site was Studio 26 in Gole Market. It belonged to BC Sanyal. Then Ram Kumar worked there and finally Jogen Chowdhury took over. At one point Jatin Das, FN Souza etc. wanted to start an artist’s forum. It was initiated by FN Souza and was meant to be called The White Flag Revolution. It was more about the fact that paints and materials were difficult to obtain, but nothing came of it.
Relocating peripheries: Kathmandu Triennale
Reflections on the KMB - Forming in the pupil of an eye by Roobina Karode
Protagonist of Tradition: A legend passes
Reconstructing Visual Imagery in the Age of Mass Production by Arshiya Lokhandwala
T J Demos speaks to Gayatri Sinha
The Queer Speculum by Arshiya Lokhandwala
A fertile land of pellucid light by Soumitra Das
In conversation by Ashrafi S Bhagat
Printmaking, A flashback by Keshav Malik
Science, facts and fiction by Soumitra Das