Hanuman Kambli is one of India's leading mid-career artists.
His work is of great interest because he has discovered a very personal way to express something quintessentially Indian at the same time that he expresses something modern. Like Mother India, herself, Hanuman Kambli has one foot in history and another in the future. From Rabindranath Tagore, we hear this " Therefore when we talk of such a fact as Indian Art, it indicates some truth based upon the Indian tradition and temperament. At the same time we must know that there is no such thing as absolute caste restriction in human cultures; they ever have the power to combine and produce new variations ..... proving the deep unity of human psychology".
Kambli's artwork can rightly be called narrative. The narratives contain elements of traditional imagery from both religious sources and Art sources about religion, but it also presents themes and ideas that are taken from his immediate environment. In his prints, one can see his family, his home, the land of his ancestors and the Indian Gods, along with the encroaching builders and `developers' who are transforming the sacred land into a global shopping center. He examines the contemporary tension between nature and culture, and the constant contradictions of perception an reality.
The Multiple-headed Trimurti appears often in his work, usually two faces in profile, one oriented towards the left and the other towards the right. There is also another face on the frontal plane flattened so that the head is read more as a shape than as a volume. On the frontal-facing head, there is a vertical area which might be read as a nose, hair, stitches, tikka marks, or perhaps just a line separating each side from the other. There is the tikka marks, or perhaps just a line separating each side from the other. There is the concept of unity in diversity here and a reference to Soaham, but it is also a reference to concept of unity in diversity here and a reference to Soaham, but it is also a reference to "being of two minds on an issue" or of having a past as well as a future. A person steeped in the Western tradition might see the Greek God Janus in these images or perhaps, the art of Pablo Picasso. But, it is an Indian cultural reference also and Kambli is well aware of both sets of meanings and references. He often speaks of the individual who is reflected in the universal and the universal embodied in the individual.
Above all, Kambli has a very sophisticated sense of tone and line and the use of both for compositional purposes. His processes of working the copper plate include etching, engraving, drypoint, mezzotint and aquatint. He uses these processes to develop printed surfaces of beautiful richness and depth. The printed lines stand up from the surface in slight relief while the lightest gray tones caress the paper with the most delicate of ink deposits. His light grays are the kiss of a battery landing on a spring flower while his deeply etched lines are forceful cuts and wounds in the surface of the copper.
His Work is technically proficient and he employs the full range of techniques available to the printmaker. But, he is not merely a technician. Kambli employs techniques to enrich his images like the story teller who uses complex gestures and facial expressions to add life to his characters. Through technique, Kambli deepens his story by hiding some things in shadows and exposing others to the full light of day. He "builds" a wall of bricks and "constructs" a screen of doors that separate one set of actors from another. Through composition and technique, he divides and separates his picture plane into a metaphor of the narrative he is creating.
Printmaking in Europe and the United States has long been an art of political and social content as well as personal content. This is also true in Indian printmaking during this past century. Early 20th Century artists in India who worked with printmaking such as Benode Bihari Mukherjee, Haren Das, Nandalal Bose, and Mukul Dey all created images of what they found around them in their own culture. The images were often "pictorial and documentary, and, seemingly, contained little overt political content. Other artists who followed them in the 1940's, such as Chitta Prasad and early Somnath Hore, tried to use printmaking not only to depict what they saw around themselves, but also to call people to action. They wanted an art of social utility, one that would address inequity and cause the downtrodden to take action their fate. Hanuman Kambli continues in these traditions.
Hanuman Kambli avoids the polemic and the overtly political, but he does feel the need to take a position and state an opinion. In Kambli's prints, human expression and unfettered nature take precedence over commercial development. Personal feeling and family take precedence over political action. The handmade takes precedence over that made by machine. Quiet takes precedence over noise. Love takes precedence over hate.
"I believe that this vision of Paradise is to be seen in the sunlight
and the green of the earth in the beauty of the human face and the wealth of
human life ...... Everywhere in this earth the spirit of Paradise is awake and
sending forth its voice." Although this quote is from the pen of Rabindranath
Tagore, it can easily by found in prints by Hanuman Kambli as well.
- Charles Stroh
Charles Stroh, Chairperson and Professor, Department of Art, Western Michingan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. Charles Stroh is a printmaker and painter. He lived in Afghanistan from 1969-1971 and has had an extended residency in India on two occasions, first in 1985, then again in 1989-1990. In 1985, Stroh devoted six months to traveling throughout India meeting Indian printmakers and collecting material for a proposed book on contemporary Indian prints. The book was not published , but Stroh did collect a body of 60 prints by Indian artists which now are included in the collection of the Marianna Ross Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University.
Hanuman Kambli - Bio-data:
Born on 18 September 1956 in Goa
1973-1978 B.F.A. Degree in Fine Art (First Class First ) Goa College of Art, University of Bombay.
1980-1982 M.F.A. Post Graduate Degree in Fine Art Print Making ( First class First ) Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati University, Shantiniketan, West Bengal.
1994-1995 Artist in Residence at The Wimbledon School of Art, London.
1999 Artist in Residence at the Western Michigan University - USA. on Fulbright Fellowship.
1985 Art Gallery, State Academy, Goa.
1991 Art Heritage, New Delhi.
1992 Art Gallery, Institute Menezes Braganca, Goa.
1993 Art Gallery, Institute Menezes Braganca, Goa.
1995 Wimbledon School of Art, London.
1995 British Council Division Art Gallery, Bombay.
1996 British Council Division, Art Gallery, New Delhi.
1996 Chaze Art & Craft Centre, Margao, Goa.
1997 Galleria Ralino, Panjim, Goa.
1998 Gallery Alliance Fracaise, Panaji - Goa.
1999 Space Gallery, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo - USA.
2001 Art Chamber, Calangute, Goa, India
1978 Chitrakala Parishad Art Exhibition - Bangalore.
1979 State Art Exhibition - Goa.
1979,81,85 All India Exhibition of Prints, Chandigarh & New Delhi.
1979 Group 17 Art Exhibition - Goa.
1981,82 Birla Academy of Arts and Culture - Calcutta. 1981,82 Academy of Fine Arts - Calcutta.
1985 Duo Show Jehangir Art Gallery - Bombay. 1983,85,88,90 National Exhibition of Art - New Delhi.
1983,8 4 All India Exhibition of drawings - Chandigarh. 1986,90,92,94,96 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, & 6th Bharat Bhavan Bienniale of Contemporary Art - Bhopal ( On invitation)
1987 Contemporary Print Making in India a Travelling Exhibition in many Cities of USA ( On invitation)
1987 Jamini Roy Centenary Art Exhibition - Calcutta.
1988 Art and Life a travelling Exhibition in India organised by Lalit Kala Academy - New Delhi. ( On invitation)
1989 Fine Art exhibition organised by INTACH - Goa. 1989,90,91 All India Art Exhibition organised by AIFACS - Delhi.
1990 Working Artists Exhibition organised by L.K.A regional centre - Madras.
1990 Regional Art Exhibition - Madras. (On invitation)
1991 First Independente Art Exhibition, organised by Goan Art forum - Goa.
1991 Contemporary 91 Art Exhibition, Goan Art Forum - Goa.
1991 VII Trienniale, International Painters camp and Exhibition - Goa. ( On invitation)
1991 All India Arts Exhibition by Vijaya Fine Arts Society, Gadag - Karnataka.
1992 Backyard Ritual Art Exhibition, Goan Art Forum - Goa. 1992 N.S Bendre Memorial Art Exhibition organised by Individual Cultural Centre - Jammu. ( On invitation)
1992 A Searching Encounter Camp and Art Exhibition of paintings for the Visually Impaired by Naquab Panaji - Goa. 1992 All India Graphic Camp and Exhibition organised by Lalit Kala Academy, Garhi Artists Studio - New Delhi. (On invitation)
1993 Group show Kala Peetam - Kerala.
1994 Six Contemporaries from Goa Chitram Art Gallery, Cochin - Kerala.
1994 Continuum Art Exhibition by Goan art Forum, Panaji - Goa.
1994 F.B.A National Print Exhibition - Mall Gallery - London. 1995 CIRCA National Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Chaze Centre - Goa.
1995 Degree show, Wimbledon School of Art, The Morley Gallery - London.
1995 Print Show Bremen - Germany.
1995 Group show The Goan Art Forum, Cymroza Art Gallery - Bombay.
1996 Group show Art Gallery Alliance Francaise, Panaji - Goa.
1996 Box Print show - Hardware Gallery - London.
1996 Exhibition of Mini Prints by Gallery Espace - collaboration with British Council Division - New Delhi.
1996 Print Exhibition The National College, Oslo - Norway 1997 The Minature Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam.
Fifty Years Of Indias Independance Travelling Exhibition to East European countries organised by ICCR New Delhi..
Four Print makers from Goa innagural exhibition of Fundacao Julio Resende Art Gallery, Porto - Portugal.
1998 Four Printmaker from Goa group exhibition, Atelier 2221 - New Delhi.
1999 'Fado' Group exhibition of Goan artists at Jamaat Art Gallery - Bombay presented by Fundacao Oriente.
1999 'Tempestivus' Group Exhibition of The Goan Art Forum at 'Casa Goa', Calangute - Goa.
1986 Represented India in the II Bienniale of Havana - Cuba. ( On Invitation)
1988 III International Graphic Art Exhibition organised by AIFACS - Delhi (On invitation)
1990,92,95 International Exhibition of Prints, Kanagawa - Japan.
1991 Mini Print International Cadaques, Barcelona, Spain and many cities in Japan.
1991 First International Expo of Postal Art, Sao Paulo - Brazil. 1991,97 Second & Fourth Bharat Bhavan International Biennial of Prints, Bhopal - India.
1993,96 1st & 2nd Egyptian International Print Trienniale, Giza, Egypt. (On invitation)
1994 & 2000 IV & VI International Art Triennale Majdanek, Lublin - Poland. 1994 International Print Exhibition Minature 7 Gallery, Gamblebyen - Norway (On invitation)
1995,98 Tokyo International Mini Print Triennial - Tama Art University, Tokyo - Japan.
1995 The 7th International Biennial of Print & Drawing, Taipei - Taiwan.
1995 The 3rd Kochi International Triennial Exhibition of Prints - Japan.
1997 International Print Triennial Society, Carcow _ Poland. 1997 International Triennial of Graphic Art, Bitola - Macedonia. 9th International Print Biennial Varna - Bulgaria. International Biennial of Graphic Art Ljubljana, Slovenia.
1998 International Miniature Print Exhibition, Barcelona - Spain. CAMP AND WORKSHOP (ON INVITATION)
1976 Graphic Workshop conducted by Lalit Kala Academy Garhi studio - Delhi
1978,79 Artist camp and Exhibition organised by Kala Academy - Goa.
1982 Workshop for Childrens Book Illustrations by National Book Trust India - New Delhi.
1983 Print making Workshop conducted by Krishna Reddy at Kala Bhavan, Shantiniketan - West Bengal.
1987 Graphic Camp and Exhibition organised by WZCC, Udaipur and Kala Academy. Goa also worked as Resource person to conduct this camp.
1988 Kala Mela organised by Sanyogita Artist group - Bangalore.
1991 VII Triennial International Painters camp and Exhibition - Goa.
1991 A Searching Encounter Artist Camp and an Exhibition of Paintings for the Visually Impaired by Naquab , Panaji - Goa.
1992 All India Graphic Camp Exhibition organised by Lalit Kala Academy, at Garhi Artist Studio - New Delhi.
1999 Resource Person to conduct printmaking workshop at theGoa College of Art, organised by LKA Regional Centre, Chennai.
1999 Tour in USA as Fulbright visiting professor and conducted workshops - demonstrations in several universities.
1999 worked in the Printmaking Workshop (Prof. Robert Blackburns workshop), New York.
1999 Artist Camp and Exhibition at Cidade de Goa (Goa) organised by 'Seher'.
1978, 79 Fellowship from the Goa College of Art.
1980-83 Merit Scholarship from the State Academy - Goa. 1978,85 Prizes State art Exhibitions - Goa.
1985 Group 8 Medal, All India Exhibition of Prints - New Delhi.
1981 Honourable mention, All India Exhibition of Prints - Chandigarh.
1989-90 Research Grant from Lalit Kala Academy - New Delhi.
1994-95 The Charles Wallace India Trust Art Award.
1999 Fulbright Scholar to U.S.A.
ART ORGANIZATIONAL ACTIVITIES
1979 FoundedGroup 17 Young Artists group and organised couple of Art Exhibitions, Art activities in Panaji - Goa.
1991 Founder Member and Chairperson of Goan Art Forum (Premier Artist group in Goa).
Key person to organise several successful Art Exhibitions such as
1. First Independent Art exhibition in Goa.
2. Contemporary 91 Art exhibition in Goa.
3. Backyard Ritual Art Exhibition in Goa.
4. Six Contemporaries from Goa Art Exhibition at Chitram Art Gallery - Kerala.
5. Continuum Art exhibition in Goa.
6. A Life in Art retrospective exhibition of professor K.S. Vishwambhara.
PERMANENT COLLECTION OF PAINTINGS, PRINTS & DRAWINGS
Lalit Kala Academy ( National Academy of Art) - New Delhi.
Kansas State University USA. Kanagawa Prefectural Gallery - Japan.
Govt. Museum & Art Gallery - Chandigarh.
Institute Menezes Braganca , Art Gallery - Panjim.
Chitra kala Parishad - Bangalore.
West Zone Cultural Centre - Udaipur.
Santa Cecilia University, Santos, Sao Paulo - Brasil.
Garhi Artist Studio - New Delhi. Art Heritage - New Delhi.
Panstwowe Museum na Majdanku (State Museum in Majdanek),Lublin - Poland.
The National Centre of Fine Arts, Giza - Egypt.
Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal - India.
Museum of International Contemporary Graphic art, Fredrikstad - Norway.
Tama Art University, Tokyo - Japan.
British Council Division, British High Commission - New Delhi.
Charles Wallace India Trust - London.
Wimbledon School of Art - London.
The Miniature Museum of Modern Art - Amsterdam.
National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi.
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan - USA.
Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Kalamazoo, Michigan - USA.
Also Works in many Private Collections in India and Abroad.
Founder member & Chairman of The Goan Art Forum.
Was member of Institute Menezes Braganca, Panaji - Goa.