Chameli Ramachandran Indian, b. 1940


Chameli Ramachandran, Tan Yuan Chameli, was born in Santiniketan, West Bengal in 1940. After her schooling, in a Bengali medium school, she joined Kala Bhavana to study art under masters like Benodebehari Mukherjee and Ramkinkar Baij. She obtained a diploma in fine arts and crafts in 1960, a bachelor’s of arts (honors) in Indology in 1964, and a master’s of arts in ancient Indian history and culture in 1966 from Visva Bharti University, Santiniketan. 

Chameli married her fellow student from Kala Bhavana, artist A. Ramachandran, in 1967 and moved to Delhi that same year. She continued to live in Delhi with her husband and their daughter, Sujata and son Rahul. Absorbed in looking after her family, Chameli could not pursue her own art for some years even though she assisted Ramachandran in many of his projects, specially in writing and illustrating children’s books, published in India, Japan, Korea and England. In the early nineties, when her children went abroad for higher studies, Chameli took up Chinese ink and the brush and started to paint again, soon evolving a distinctive personal style of her own. Daughter of the Chinese scholar, Professor Tan Yun-Shan, a close associate of Rabindranath Tagore, who inspired her to appreciate her cultural heritage, and moulded by Tagore’s literature and philosophy, Chameli has synthesized the essence of two ancient cultures, India and China. 


Chameli held her first one-person show in 1993 in Delhi followed by a number of shows in Delhi, Baroda and London. A special book titled A Confluence of Distilled Essences: The Art of Chameli Ramachandran, written and designed by Ranesh Ray, was published by Vadehra Art Gallery on the occasion of her exhibition at Grosvenor Vadehra Art Gallery in London in 2008. Chameli has participated in a number of major shows such as Millennium Exhibition, Art Today, Delhi; A Celebration of Colour, Vadehra Art Gallery and Times of India, Delhi and Mumbai; and the Drawing Wall, commemorating twenty-five years of Vadehra Art Gallery in Delhi.  


Chameli lives in Delhi and spends the winter months in North America.