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Lot 50
Krishen Khanna
Bandwalla


In the 1970s, Khanna`s aesthetic moved away from images of death, violence and oppression to the less overtly political portrayal of bandwallas. Khanna`s interest in the bandwalla was inspired by a relatively mundane incident. Driving around in New Delhi one day, his car was blocked by a wedding procession that included a marching band. Since then, the bandwalla has become one of the most persistent themes in his oeuvre,...

In the 1970s, Khanna`s aesthetic moved away from images of death, violence and oppression to the less overtly political portrayal of bandwallas. Khanna`s interest in the bandwalla was inspired by a relatively mundane incident. Driving around in New Delhi one day, his car was blocked by a wedding procession that included a marching band. Since then, the bandwalla has become one of the most persistent themes in his oeuvre, concentrating Khanna`s diverse social concerns. "The fact that he persisted with the rather thin subject of the Bandwallas for several years... confirmed his interest in the formal and contemplative rather than figural aspects of his subject." (p. 113, Gayatri Sinha, Krishen Khanna, Vadehra Art Gallery, 2001)

Khanna`s Bandwalla probes some of the complexities of modern Indian society. At one level, the depiction of the bandwalla verges on caricature as the bold, rounded brushstrokes lend him a humorous quality. However, the muted colors of the piece, at variance with the vivid palette Khanna generally employs for this subject, create a melancholy air. We are suddenly aware that the figure in his military outfit is an absurd relic of India`s colonial past. No longer an integral cog in the social mechanism, the bandwalla is a marginalized component of contemporary society. "The Bandwalla is not exalted enough to constitute a tragic figure. Instead he has a comic pathetic cast." (Ibid.)



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  Lot 50 of 115  

AUCTION 2004 (MAY)
4-6 MAY 2004

Estimate









ARTWORK DETAILS

Krishen Khanna
Bandwalla
Signed in English (lower left) and dated in English (reverse)
2003
Oil on canvas
39.5 x 31 in (100.3 x 78.7 cm)

Category: Painting
Style: Figurative


 









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