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Elle India | 5 Women Artists Shaping the Narrative of Indian Art You Need To Know About


Paving the path for female artists in modern Indian art, Hungarian-Indian painter Amrita Sher-Gil was considered one of the greatest avant-garde women artists of the early 20th century. Following her pioneering works, the post-independence era in India saw the rise of several women artists who made a mark in the trajectory of Indian art. “With their powerful works, they have also redefined, reimagined, and challenged several ideas and notions in the complex web societal issues including an exploration into the theme of womanhood and femininity.” shares Sneha Gautam, Vice President- Client Relations, AstaGuru. “These women artists have consistently commanded critical acclaim for their work across the world with the diversity of their art practices and continue to be some of the most sought-after artists by seasoned collectors of Indian Art.” Here are 5 such influential Indian female artists you must know about: 

Arpita Singh

One of the few artists of her generation who are still practising, Arpita Singh is best known for her vivacious colourful canvases brimming with whimsical components inspired by mythology, fiction, Bengali folklore, as well as simple daily life objects. She transitioned through several phases of artistic progression in her career starting with black and white abstract works and made a dramatic shift from watercolour to oil. Rendered with a dreamlike feeling, each of her compositions tells a story of their own.

Anjolie Ela Menon

One of the most respected women artists of India, Anjolie Ela Menon’s body of work spans six decades and has seen several phases of evolution as a result of her constant exploration of new territories and themes to work on, ranging from eroticism to melancholia. Inspired by Indian and western artistic masters such as Amrita Sher-Gil, M. F. Husain, Vincent van Gogh, and Modigliani– Anjolie Ela Menon started painting at an early age and had her first solo exhibition at the age of 18. She is known for her vibrantly coloured portraits, religious-themed works, and nudes.

Bharti Kher

Trained in painting at England’s Newcastle Polytechnic followed by a career spanning three decades, Bharti Kher has made an indelible mark on the contemporary art world. Her oeuvre comprises varied media across paintings, sculptures and installations and has come to be known for her signature style involving meticulous placement of the traditional Indian ‘Bindi’ on a myriad of surfaces. Throughout her practice, she has exhibited an unwavering relationship with the human form, its narratives, and the nature of things.

Rekha Rodwittiya

With their resolute gaze and powerful demeanour, Rekha Rodwittiya’s figures which are often nude testify to the female strength. Her allegorical and metaphoric narrative paintings of archetypal women depicted through the style of surrealism and magical realism have come to be seen as icons of feminism.

Anju Dodiya

Anju Dodiya started her career with abstract paintings before she found an ultimate expression in self-introspection and self-awareness. Medieval Renaissance art, miniature paintings, poetry, Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, as well as European cinema is where she finds inspiration. With the use of different mediums, including works on mattresses, Dodiya weaves a mysterious visual narrative that juxtaposes her inner conflicts with the existential reality while also expressing her exasperation at the injustices in the world. Her unique art practice comprises works that are often autobiographical in nature