About the artist
Krishen Khanna is a versatile modern and contemporary artist, who is largely self-taught. His art engages the social, historical and political landscape of India.
Born (1925) in Faisalabad, in undivided India, Khanna studied at Imperial Service College, England (1938-42), as a Rudyard Kipling scholar. Returning to Lahore for a course in English literature at Government College, he simultaneously took evening classes at the Mayo School of Art. He worked as a printer at Kapur Art Press, Lahore, before moving with his family to Shimla following Partition. Khanna was deeply affected by not only the change in his personal life, but also the socio-political chaos that reigned around him. His early works are reproductions of the scenes that were indelibly imprinted in his memory during this period and his works are mostly figurative. Bordering on the narrative, Khanna’s work captures moments in history, much like photographs do, but the artist’s technique is far from photo-realist. The artist transfers his observations onto the canvas with spontaneity and exuberance, keeping the representational elements of his subject matter intact. The usage of colour and his expressionist brushwork make the mundane rise to the challenge of the creative.
He won the National Award of the LKA, Delhi in 1965 and the Gold Medal at the First Triennale of Contemporary World Art, Delhi in 1968. He is also the recipient of the Rockefeller Fellowship in 1962, the Padma Shri in 1990, and the Padma Bhushan in 2011. He lives and works in Gurugram, Delhi NCR.