Leicester Museum and Art Gallery has collections and exhibits about the natural and cultural world. The galleries include: Ancient Egypt, Dinosaurs, wild space, the Victorian Art Gallery, arts and crafts gallery, Picasso ceramics, the Attenborough collection and the German Expressionism collection. The museum hosts many temporary exhibitions from touring national museums. They also host curator’s talks and lunchtime concerts. The main exhibits going on currently are: Painting Freedom: Indian Modernism and it’s three rebels, Black presence revisited, and King Richard III visitor centre.

Last week, I visited the Jamini Roy exhibit – Painting Freedom: Indian Modernism and it’s three rebels – in the Leicester Museum and Art Gallery.

Collector: Nirmalya Kumar.

Curators: Dr Caterina Corni and Dr Sona Datta.

Jamini Roy was the first Indian artist to break away from the Western style, focusing on being different rather than his art being “good.” His paintings are focused on lifting Bengal folk art into original modern art. Roy’s paintings have the simple forms of Bengali folk artists, lines and borders, and flat colours; making his work look very two – dimensional and influenced by post impressionism. Roy’s artworks include subjects from the Santhal tribe of Bengal, Christ, mother-child duos and even animals.

Jamini Roy, Untitled (Santhal Drummers), c.1940, tempura on paper.

Jamini Roy, Untitled (Krishna and Balarama), c.1950, gouache on linen.

In this piece (Santhal Drummers) featured in the exhibition, alike most of his paintings, his brush strokes are bold and sweeping shaped, holding emphasis on the main features of the face. This painting is made from local materials and bound with tamarind seed glue, painted on homemade paper. Using texture and colour, Roy aims to bring forth the idea of rural folk living in harmony with each other and the earth. This is linked to the idea of identity and the Bengal tribal villagers living in harmony with the Calcutta elites.