(born 1928)




Artist Profile

Shanu Lahiri (born 1928)

foremost painter of Bengal today, received training at the Government School of Art and Crafts, Calcutta where her outstanding achievements brought her the President’s Gold Medal, the first time a student being honoured so. It was as early as 1950 that she held her first solo exhibition and by the early sixties she had won a scholarship to Paris, following which she held a string of exhibitions home and overseas. She has done several series of paintings dealing with various themes drawn on tradition and popular imagination.

She has at the same time a keen sense of social commitment as illustrated in her pieces on gender issues and bride-burning. Her intensely personal experiments with posters and collages are complemented by her activist inclinations which inspired her to mobilize street-children into painting on the walls of Kolkata. Not just a painter, she remains a voice of the city’s conscience. Her two illustrious brothers --- writer Kamal Kumar Mazumdar and painter Nirode Mazumdar --- have been invaluable influences in her life and works. Shanu has also written her memoirs in two sleek volumes. The first volume titled SMRITIR COLLAGE [A Collage of Memories; Published by VIKALP PRAKASHANI, KOLKATA] whcih portrays her childhood was a best-seller!

“The ancient period of modern Indian art began, as everyone knows, with the Bengal School…” (The Telegraph – Calcutta)

Shanu Lahiri (born 1928) a foremost and senior artist of Bengal studied at the Government School of Art and Crafts (Calcutta) where she received the President’s Gold Medal as first student in the school’s history.

Known for her active social life, like mobilising street-children into painting on the walls of Kolkata or her garbage cleaning venture with a group called “bhavna”, her life seems as vital as her paintings.

Shanu Lahiri portrays her childhood not on canvas but in her memoirs with her first volume titled “Smritir Collage”, a collage of memories.