The British opened art schools in India to train artists in European style of art, who were then employed in British advertising agencies. The job of an ‘ illustration artist’ first emerged during this time since the British extensively wanted to document India. Many famous Indian illustrators emerged from these schools but had an excessive European influence in their work. Seeking an alternative to European influenced art in imperial India, Gagendranath aimed at reviving the inherited wealth of Indian art practices while using modern printmaking techniques. Rabidranath Tagore furthered the cause by establishing Kala Bhawan in 1919. Thus began the era of Indian fine art revival. More artists could now have their work mass produced as prints and spread across the continent. From there on the students went and learned not only modern reproduction techniques but also nurtured their own Indian Indigenous art practices and Indian fine art Illustrators slowly raised to prominence. Post Independence Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru pushed the introduction of design in nation building. With growing demand in communication and broadcast, various fields of illustration emerged. From architecture to industrial design, film making to books, today skilled illustrators are thriving in India and with them Indian Indigenous art is also slowly gaining back it’s prominence.
Hand embroidered portraits by PLAY CLAN. (Image source)