Lesson + Activity: Folk Inspired Art of Indian Artist Jamini Roy

The art of Asian artists rivals those of their western counterparts. But when I was in school, art history timelines started with European cave paintings and ended in western modern art. As an adult, I learned that Japanese artist Hokusai’s The Great Wave of Kanagawa influenced Dutch artist Van Gogh’s Starry Night. The great artists of our time looked at art through a wide lens, so why don’t we teach our kids to? 

In my new blog series, I will be highlighting Asian artists from diverse religious backgrounds. Let’s start with Indian artist Jamini Roy (1887-1972), the father of modern Indian art. In 1908 he graduated from the Government College of Art in Kolkata, British India, and trained in the British academic style of painting. He built a successful career as a painter of portraits and impressionist landscapes. But as sentiments of Indian revolution grew, Jamini Roy consciously rejected western artistic style. He unlearned his European academic discipline and looked for a more “Indian” form of artistic expression. He was inspired by the folk art of Bengal. He stopped using European paints in favor of natural mineral and vegetable-based pigments made from alluvial mud, seeds, powdered rock, flowers, and indigo. He infused traditional South Asian folk art with his unique modernist style.

Nirmala
Photo Credit: sothebys.com
Gandhi
Photo Credit: sothebys.com

Untitled
Photo Credit: Artiana
Mother Cat and Kitten

Jamini Roy believed ordinary people were more important than governments. During his lifetime, he never sold a painting for more than 350 rupees, approximately 4 dollars. He wanted people, regardless of income, to be able to own fine art. His paintings are now valued in the tens of thousands. Jamini Roy died in 1972 in Kolkata, India. He remains one of the most celebrated Indian artists of the 20th century.

I do not care whether my paintings are good or bad. I want its appearance to be different.”

Jamini Roy

As an artist, his work was constantly evolving, from portraits to landscapes to folk art.

He was known for being able to use simple lines to convey form and emotion.

Activities

I am excited to share my Jamini Roy lesson and activity sheets. I created this activity to suit ages 3+. The coloring sheet can be used for kids ages 3-7, depending on ability. The “How To Draw” guide is for kids 8+.

Get Free Printable

Download my FREE Jamini Roy Lesson and Activity packet, which includes a one-page “All About Jamini Roy” informational sheet, an activity overview guide, and a “How To Draw: A Jamini Inspired Cat” guide, and the coloring sheet.

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A wonderful book to pair with this activity is Home Is In Between by Mitali Perkins and Lavanya Naidu.

Peace & Salam,

Natasha