Born in Simla in 1931, Avinash Chandra studied in Delhi before moving to London in 1956, and it was there that he honed his artistic skills, influenced initially by Van Gogh and Chaim Soutine. His new surroundings helped him flourish and escape the artistic ideals imposed upon him in Delhi.
Moderate success followed his immediate move, however it was in the late 1950s/early 1960s that he saw real progress. Indeed the 1960s could be said to have been the artist’s zenith, as from his base in North London, Chandra exhibited extensively throughout Europe and the USA, and in 1965 was the first Indian artist to be represented at the Tate Gallery with the vibrant work Hills of Gold. In 1962 the BBC produced a program about the artist as part of their ‘Monitor 101’ series, exposing him to the public at large.
His vernacular from the 1960s is one of mystical floating objects and celestial bodies seamlessly interwoven with elements from traditional Hindu mythology such as the lingam/yoni and the ajna chakra. This style was very different from that of his earlier works which usually featured depictions of landscapes and nature.
The work depicted above is one such example which incorporates a range of varied and intriguing subjects. It is also relatively rare due to the subtle use of colour. When viewed closely however, one can see that beneath the thin veil of white paint is layer upon layer of colour, built up to create a highly textured surface. This technique gives the work a great sense of depth, movement and dynamism, the like of which is rarely seen in his paintings from the 1970s and 80s, in which the subjects are more overtly sexual in their nature.