Somberikatte @ 1Shanthiroad
RE-LOOK : Lectures on Indian Art
The Reluctant Modernist:
K K Hebbar 1911- 1996
a lecture by
Art Historian, Bangalore
Friday 9 September 2011 at 6:30 pm
@ 1Shanthiroad Studio/Gallery,
1, Shanthi Road, Shanthi Nagar,
The Reluctant Modernist: K.K.Hebbar 1911-1996
Though K.K.Hebbar was not represented in the modern Indian art historical context, he was revered in Karnataka. He was not seen in the same light as his contemporaries for many reasons: Hebbar was seen as a regional figure and often never mentioned. A monolithic history of modernism was written by tracking the trajectories of avant- garde artist movements, manifestos and path breakers. Many artists were thus overlooked and grouped together to represent a period in art history. Hebbar was reluctant to be a part of the historical Progressive Artists Group. He was not seen as radical or political, but was clubbed along with other contemporaries of the Progressive Artists Group in the milieu of Mumbai. Yet, his work fits into the manifesto of the Progressive agenda of “aesthetic order, plastic coordination and color combination”
In celebrating his reputation with a retrospective at the NGMA, Bangalore will seal his contribution and position him with other popular contemporaries in the canon of Indian Modern art as a quintessential modern Indian Painter on a quest for national identity. Hebbar’s work reflects a single minded devotion to his vocation and his art reveals a series of influences that constructed the legacy of modern Indian art. But what overshadows his work is his own personality as a visionary and a humanist.
Suresh Jayaram, art historian, artist and art administrator received the Nehru small study grant for his MA dissertation on KK Hebbar at MS University Baroda in 1992. He first studied in, and later taught art history in the Karnataka Chitra Kala Parishad and has been Head of Department and Principal of the art school. He has received the Charles Wallace Grant to work at the Gasworks Studio in London, and the Arthink South Asia Fellowship in Berlin. He has exhibited often as a painter and writes for art magazines and journals. In 2002 he founded the independent artist space 1 Shanthiroad in Bangalore. Besides researching contemporary Indian art, he has focused on studying Bangalore’s horticultural heritage. He is part of the working team of the Khoj International Artists’ Association and has been involved in curating their South Asian residency Programme. His most recent assignment is as curator of the Colombo Art Biennale 2012.
*Somberikatte: Somberikatte is a Kannada word meaning idler’s platform- usually the platform around a large tree where people gather to gossip and exchange news. It is a fictional institution, sometimes a forum, sometimes a film production company or the name of a photo studio, used by the artist Pushpamala N.
*1 Shanthiroad: The Studio/Gallery at 1 Shanthiroad, Bangalore, is anindependent artist run space for art residencies, slide lectures, small conferences, exhibitions, performances, screenings and informal gatherings. Centrally located with an award winning design, it was founded by Suresh Jayaram and is administered by a not-for-profit trust VAC – Visual Art Collective.