Artist Profile

One of the most original and outstanding painters of contemporary India, Prokash Karmakar confirms in his works the rich inheritance of Indian art and the dynamic spirit of the modern age. Born in Calcutta in 1933 he has lived through wars, famine, communal riots, and partition, and his powerful brush has caught the anguished search of his age for meaning and direction in bold lines and rich colour. His magnificent distortions offer a profound insight into the hidden matrix of experience.

Prokash’s father Prohlad Karmakar, a pioneer of modern printing in India, died early leaving Prokash to fend for himself. Prokash had a hard life in his boyhood and youth – he found shelter in station platforms, city parks, brothels and pavements – and all this experience enriched his creative imagination. In spirit he remain a bohemian whose head is warms and generous but whose head in unbowed to any authority.

In 1968 Prokash get an Academy Award of a Fellowship which took him to Paris to study the Master Painters Creations and other great country of artistic activity in Europe. He gradually achieved in his style a rich and original aesthetic fusion from Eastern and Western art while retaining in every on his strokes the authentic stamp of his individuality. He has exhibited in innumerable solo and group shows. His paintings have been acquired for their collection by the Modern Art Gallery, New Delhi, Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Calcutta, Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta, Allahavad Museum, Allahabad, U.P., Lalit Kala Akademi, Lucknow, U.P., Art Heritage of India, New Delhi, and by many governments and private collections throughout the world.

He is one of the most powerful artist in India. His landscapes are unparalleled. It has the true essence of India, and … at the same time very modern. His figures his lines, bold distortions are simply magnificent. He himself is now an Institution and many young contemporary painters are following his path.

Prokash Karmakar has lived in the city most of his life. He is one of the great gifts that Kolkata has made to the mainstream of modern and post modern Indian art, during the second half of the 20th century and the first decades of 21st. From the early 1950s, he has been very active in the field. Twice he was absent from the city for some time. Once when he received a French Government Fellowship to live and work in Paris for one year in 1969-70, with an allotment of additional funding to tour Western Europe . The second time, circumstances exiled him to Naini, the twin town of Allahabad at the confluence of Ganga and Jamuna. From 1971, for many years he lived in this semi-urban industrial town. At last he thought he had enough. In 1983, at the age of fifty, he decided to take voluntary retirement.