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Salute to the unsung Maverick Illustrator Brij Mohan Anand

Salute to the unsung Maverick Illustrator Brij Mohan Anand

By Chayanika Joshi New Delhi May 15(UNI) Almost after three decades of the passing away of an unsung painter-illustrator whose independent works mirrored his fiercely anti-establishment spirit, Brij Mohan Anand is making a return of sorts to the art circuit with a landmark 11 day exhibition in the capital organised by the BM Anand Foundation, in association with the India International Centre in Delhi. Brij Mohan Anand, was a vocal critic of “western imperialism and Indian militarism” a unique artist who chose not to sell his works in his lifetime instead, believed that art was a powerful medium of social and political commentary that can be used as a voice of dissent and a tool for advancing social justice. Much before Brij Mohan Anand was born, his older brother Madan Mohan had been killed at the “Jallianwala Bagh massacre” – a tragedy following which his Western-educated father Mani Ram Anand and his progressive, feminist mother Bhagwati grew disenchanted with the Congress, of which they had previously been staunch supporters, and began to support Bhagat Singh and the other revolutionaries seeking a violent overthrow of the Raj. It is easy to imagine that the events of Anand’s early life contributed to the dramatic and rebellious nature of his art, although the subtler tonalities of his works remain open to interpretation. Although Anand dropped out of school and never received formal art training, he continued the passionate art production he had begun at the age of nine. He began to do commercial illustrations for newspapers, novels and textbooks. The exhibition, which began this week, features 35 sketches, 14 scratchboards, three scratchboard sketches, five ink drawings, six Red Cross posters, 23 book covers and five oil-on-canvas paintings. A committed socialist, Anand’s aesthetic and studio practice reflect his anti-imperialistic stance as well as mediating a more nuanced engagement with the challenges and tensions of India’s modernity. This exhibition is showcasing aspects of Anand’s distinctive and socially engaged aesthetic. A meticulously researched book titled "Narratives for Indian Modernity: The Aesthetic of Brij Mohan Anand," which has been co-authored by writer-biographer Aditi Anand and British art historian Grant Pooke has also been released in this occasion which is an opportunity to celebrate a rare talent. UNI CJ ADG 1140

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