Artist Profile

Fatima Ahmed

Asked about the influences on her art, Fatima Ahmed names Gaughin, Cezanne, Van Gogh ("whom I admire, but who did not really influence my work") and, most importantly, Modigliani. "At my first Bombay show in 1962, the critics referred to me as the female Modigliani. I was very taken by his elongated figures." After painting for forty years, however, no single influence remains to be seen in her work; rather, Ahmed has forged her own unique style. A consistent element has been placement of the single feature in a painting with a great deal of open space. "I dislike crowded compositions", she says. Recently, she finished a painting with the two figures, but she stresses "even there, there was still a lot of space."

Speaking on her use of light, she explains, "Light can make a lot of difference to a work. The light created within a painting is part of the tonal effects. I always leave certain portions of the canvas light, absolutely white. I am very particular about this, and my finishing touches will sometimes take more than ten days. Subtlety in painting in crucial to me -I want my paintings to be like whispers, not loud cries."

Asked about the changes in her work, she says that the first figures were "sculptural", with a dark background, and defined by lines of strong light. Recently such harsh lines have fallen away, and she describes a new lightness in her painting, coupled with the absence of definite lines. "The figure dissolves into the background, the background dissolves, into the figure-there is more of an interplay now." Ahmed tends to work on a single painting at a time, explaining that "I must finish a painting before I can move on." Ahmed continues to work with the technique of floating colors, a process which is quite time consuming. "I cannot correct a painting, because it would create a thickness to the canvas and my aim is transparency. So I cannot paint absent-mindedly."

Asked about her goals for the future works, she mentions that she is considering return to watercolors. "In 1990, when I returned to painting after a gap, I showed water colors for the first time. But after that, I returned to oils, which was my first love." Recently, however, she has been looking through her unfinished water colors, as well as contemplating a mixed media project that would combine water colors, gouache, and ink on handmade paper, on a large scale. "This has been brewing in my imagination for some time," she says.


  • 1960 Diploma in Painting from College of Fine Arts, Hyderabad, India


  • 2003 at Jehangir Art Gallery Mumbai.
  • 1963-1996 Solo-Exhibition Mumbai.
  • 1996 at Jehangir Art Gallery Mumbai.
  • 1994 of Water Colours at Gallery April Mumbai.
  • 1993 at Jehangir Art Gallery Mumbai.
  • 1990 Exhibition of Water Colours Mumbai.
  • 1980 at Gallery Chemould Mumbai.
  • 1962–1965 Solo Exhibition Hyderbad, New Delhi, Chennai.
  • 2005 by Gallery Art & Soul Singapore
  • 2005 Indonesian & India Art Show Singapore
  • 2005 ‘Colours of Life’ by Cancer Patients Aid Assoc. Mumbai
  • 2004, 2005 ‘Monsoon Show’ by Concern India Mumbai
  • 2004 ‘Women Artist’ New Delhi
  • 2004 by Gallery Art & Soul Mumbai
  • 2002, 2003 Show at Intex, by Colours on Canvas Gallery Dubai
  • 2001 Show by Gallery Guild Hong Kong
  • 2001 Show by Gallery Art Resource Trust Dubai
  • 2000 Show by Gallery Art Resource Trust Mauritius
  • 1999, 2000 ‘Art in Miniature Format’ at Sans Tache Gallery Mumbai
  • 1998, 2000 ‘Art Access Week’ at Birla Art Gallery Mumba
  • 1998 'Mumbai Artist' by NGMA Mumbai
  • 1997 ‘Harmony Show’ Mumbai
  • 1997 ‘Fifty Years of Independence’, show by RPG Mumbai
  • 1997 ‘Mother Theresa’, show by RPG Mumbai
  • 1995 ‘Bombay’, show by RPG Mumbai
  • 1992 Show at Bharat Bhavan Bhopal
  • 1992 ‘Ekta’, traveling exhibition by SAHMAT
  • 1988 ‘Art for CRY’ orgainsed by CRY Mumbai
  • 1986 ‘Four Women Artist’ at Chetna Art Gallery Mumbai
  • 1985 Group show at Gallery Crimson Bangalore
  • 1984 ‘Women Artist of India’ at NGMA New Delhi
  • 1975, 1976 Group show at Gallery Arts-38 London
  • 1967 Paris Bienalle for young Artist Paris