B. 1940

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Anjolie Ela was born in West Bengal of a mixed Bengali and American parentage. During her student days, she was drawn to the works of Modigliani, and Indian painters, MF Husain and Amrita Shergil. Menon, who studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris in the early fifties on a French Government Scholarship, returned to India in 1962 after travelling extensively in Europe and West Asia. In her work from the late 60s she included priests, prophets, Madonnas and brooding nudes showcasing the brilliance of Byzantine palette. In the next decade she acquired an allegorical quality where the mythical characters like dogs, goats, crows, lizards became the central protagonists in her works. The 1990s were marked by innovative experimentation in her career which included the computer aided images, photography and collage. In the late 1990s she even explored the non-figurative inspired by the Buddhist iconography of Ladakh.

What she is best known for is her portraits as she has been able to generate a special empathy for people in her works through a constant recurrence of a human figure. Her oeuvre of paintings reveals an extraordinary sensibility, profoundly individual in perception yet diverse in its sympathies.

The artist lives and works in New Delhi.

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