Nayanaa Kanodia

Artist Profile

Born in 1950 in Pune, Maharashtra, economist-turned-painter Nayanaa Kanodia is a pioneer of the l’Art Naïf genre in India, defined as visual art created by someone who lacks formal training in art. Nayanaa graduated from Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi, with an Honour’s Degree in Economics. And while she did not formally study art, she completed a year-long apprenticeship with acclaimed contemporary artist Anjolie Ela Menon.

Nayanaa uses wit and satire to form a narrative on a changing India, and the country’s cultural transition led by economic growth. Her whimsical works feature vibrant colours, bright polished surfaces and intricate details, giving a utopian appearance to the everyday life depicted in her paintings. She often depicts the dichotomy of change – on the one hand, people trying to cling to their roots, and on the other, a new generation eager to adopt conveniences of the modern world. The lack of formal training allows Nayanaa Kanodia to retain a strong individualism in her art. She depicts harsh social realities using a fresh and unique artistic language.

Nayanaa’s works are held in many public and private collections in India and abroad, including the Musée International d'Art Naïf, Paris. In 1998, she was chosen by The Commonwealth Institute for a solo show in their newly renovated complex in London. Nayanaa has also been honoured with an award by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India in 2016. She has a teaching experience of over two decades, and has conducted numerous art camps around the world. Nayanaa has participated in innumerable group shows in India, USA, UK, Singapore, Dubai, France, Hong Kong, South Africa and Australia. She was featured in the internationally published book ‘Women in Art’ by Reinhard Fuchs, along with some of the world’s most talented female artists.

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