Baiju Parthan


Kerala based artist Baiju Parthan is known for as an innovator of intermedia art form in India. He has immaculately portrayed the workings of an enigmatic and mystic inner universe through his paintings. Parthan has magnificently blended his painterly interests with his journey to virtual reality to create a series of highly stimulating and opulently textured installations.

BaijuParthanwas born in the year 1956 in Kerala. He achieved fame at very early age of his life. His journey towards finding a niche in the contemporary Indian art scenario has been bit struggling.

Education & Work

Baiju Parthan has a quite extensive academic background. He did his Bachelors in Painting from Goa along with a Bachelor’s Degree in Botany. Parthan has a Post Graduate (Diploma) in Mythology and Philosophy. Even though, Parthan began his education in engineering, yet he found himself drawn towards the realms of art in year 1974. He stumbled across a book describing the history of Western art. This was the turning point in his life as it completely changed his perception and piqued his interest to know more about art. Later, Parthan enrolled himself in a fine arts five-year course. He was interested in the Indian mystical arts, hence spent time in reconnoitering tantrism, ritual arts, and Indian mythology.

Parthan’s paintings beautifully reflect the sanctified world of primitive man, wherein the artist is the soothsayer or healer, who through ritualistic/sacred art connects with the magical world– perhaps even black magic. He recreates these pre-modern philosophies in a very intriguing way predominantly in shades of black, emphasized by hues of blue and green, over and over again coloring the background a tone of parchment brown, so as to create an impression of medieval manuscripts.

All this explicates why he has been regarded as a mainstream figure-immersed in myth, iconography and unadorned good textured art.

In the early 1980s, Parthan took as abbatial break from painting only to come back to it in the early 1990s, when he began to discover the metaphors of mandalas and Tibetan thank as. These traditional themes were well poised by his readings of post-modern theory. The comparative mythology and philosophy background had been the great source of inspiration on Parthan. The same has driven him to create an inimitable vocabulary based on symbols and archaic images.

Baiju Parthan has successful contributed to solo exhibitions in Mumbai, New Delhi and Goa. He has also participated in foremost group shows in Kolkata, Mumbai, New York and other places. His artistic work in new media and installations include 'Necessary illusions with 24 cups of Coffee' at Lakeeren Art Gallery in Mumbai, ‘Code’ at National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai, and ‘The Crossing’ at the Kala Ghoda Art District in Mumbai, the Kalidas Academy, Ujjain.

He has even actively participated in camps and exhibitions in various parts of the country and has held solo shows at The Heritage in Chennai, Jehangir Art Gallery and the Art Walk Gallery, in Mumbai.He left the art lovers spell bound with his work in art exhibitions in China, Germany and the U.K. Apart from this; he even took part in major group exhibitions such as the IX Asian Biennale in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Awards and Accolades

In the year 2000, he was honoured with the Sotheby’s artist of the year award. Ranjit Hoskote, contemporary Indian poet, art critic, cultural theorist and independent curator, has written a user manual about Baiju Parthan. This user manual explicitly defines the artist's diversely populated imagination. He also has several essays published on culture and technology to his credit. He has even worked as a cartoonist with the Times of India Group of Publications, Mumbai.

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