Rabin Mondal

Artist Profile

Born in 1929 as Rabindra Nath Mondal in a poor government official’s family, Rabin Mondal’s childhood experiences had a strong influence on his art. Growing up amongst the overcrowded and industrial district of Howrah and witnessing the contrast of the urban poor and the wealthy living side by side impacted him deeply, as did the Bengal Famine of 1943 and Calcutta communal riots of 1946. The exploration of human struggle and inner turmoil is deeply reflected in Mondal’s art, rendering it grotesque.

Having suffered a knee injury at a young age, Rabin Mondal took to art as a form of creative expression. As a young artist, he was influenced by Indian artists like Jamini Roy and Rabindranath Tagore. Mondal’s exposure to French Modernism came through a festival of French arts held in Kolkata, while he was studying at Vidyasagar College of Art. This turned out to be a turning point in his career.

Mondal’s figures are derived from a growing disgust towards mankind’s moral decay in all spheres of life. Using bold strokes, he creates faces that stare at the viewer, looking strange and pensive, and at the same time, strong and defiant.

Rabin Mondal had his first solo exhibit in 1961 at the Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata. Over the course of his career, he was featured in multiple national and international shows. The legendary artist was a founding member of Calcutta Painters in 1964, and a general council member of Lalit Kala Akademi from 1979 – 1983. The artist passed away in July 2019.
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