Grosvenor Vadehra is proud to present the first in a series of exhibitions exploring the theme of contemporary miniature painting. 'Miniature Rewind 1' features the work of a number of contemporary artists from India, Iran and Pakistan, all of whom are either working in the miniature technique, or employ styles and themes usually observed in the discipline of miniature painting. For over 1000 years miniature painting has been of tremendous significance for those living in South Asia and Iran. The art form is part of their national identity, and has influenced artists for hundreds of years.
Displayed alongside are works by artists whose pioneering work in the mid 20th century paved the way for the exploration of miniature tradition by contemporary artists. A common problem for many of these artists working in the 1950s and 60s was how to combine their countries indigenous artistic heritage with the contemporary styles and techniques emerging from the West.
This intriguing problem was approached in many different ways, however the aims of these artist's were still clear; to create an contemporary artistic vernacular particular to their own country. In post Independence India artists were struggling to create works that broke free from colonial influence. T
he first group of artists to successfully do so were the members of the Bombay Progressive Artist's Group, namely FN Souza, SH Raza and MF Husain. These artists came together to create works which rejected traditional techniques in favour of those finding prominence on the international stage.
Raza and Souza left India in the late 1940s, however their desire to develop as artists whilst also representing their Indian roots never left them. An example of the combination of the ancient and the contemporary can be seen below. In Panth, Raza combined iconography typically seen in 18th century Rajasthani miniatures, with the stylistic influences of Colour-Field artists such as Mark Rothko. The result, a painting that is undoubtedly Indian, but with entirely contemporary references. It was the struggle to find a balance between heritage and modernity that would continue to impact the work of Indian artists throughout the late 20th century.