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"Every Child is an Artist. The Problem is How to Remain an Artist once we Grow up"-Pablo Picasso.


Nilima Sheikh

1945 New Delhi


1969-71 Master of Fine Arts (Painting), College of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda
1962-65 he studied History at Delhi University, New Delhi.


2014 Every night put Kashmir in your dreams, Art Institute of Chicago
2010 Every night put Kashmir in your dreams, Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
2009 Drawing Paths, Gallery Espace, New Delhi
2003 The Country Without a Post Office Agha Shahid Ali Reading, Chemould Gallery, Mumbai
1999 Painted Drawings, Gallery Espace, New Delhi
1999 Pictures of Umrao, Nature Morte, New Delhi
1998 Galerie FIA (Foundation for Indian Artists), Amsterdam
1998 Garden for Mother, Sakshi Gallery, Bangalore, Karnataka
1995 Song-Space, organized by Gallery Chemould, at Max Muller Bhawan, Mumbai
1993 Song, Water, Air, Gallery Espace, New Delhi
1985 Contemporary Art Gallery, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
1984 Pundole Art Gallery, Bombay
1983.85 Triveni Art Gallery, New Delhi


2016 Diary Entries, Gallery Espace, New Delhi
2015 Remembering Bhupen, Sarjan Art Gallery, Vadodara
2013 Still Life, Gallery Art Motif, New Delhi
2011 Pause A Collection, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai
2011 Tradition, Trauma, Transformation Representations of Women by Chitra Ganesh, Nalini Malani, Nilima Sheikh, David Winton Bell Gallery List Arts Center, Providence RI
2011 Narratives, Quotations and Commentaries, Grosvenor Gallery, London
2010-11 A Collection, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai
2010 STPI Review Show, Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI), Singapore
2010 Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai
2010 Modern Folk The Folk Art Roots of the Modernist Avant-Garde, Aicon Gallery, New York
2009 Tracing Time, Bodhi Art, Mumbai
2008 Baroda A Tale of Two Cities, (Part I), Sarjan Art Gallery, Vadodara, Gujarat
2008 Of Personal Narratives and Travels, Bodhi Art, Gurgaon, Haryana
2008 Horn Please Narratives in Contemporary Indian Art, Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland
2008 Mapping Memories - 1, painted travelogues from China and Greece, Gallery Threshold, New Delhi
2007 Mirchandani,  Steinruecke Gallery, Mumbai
2007 Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai
2006 Edge of Desire Recent Art in India, National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in Mumbai and New Delhi
2006 Back to the Future, Gallery Espace, New Delhi
2006 The Lyrical Line, Gallery Espace, New Delhi
2005 Ritu/Mausam/Seasons, organized by Anant Art Gallery at Shridharani Gallery, New Delhi
2005 Angkor The Silent Centuries, organized by Bodhi Art and Gallery Threshold at Bodhi Art, New Delhi
2005 Bhupen Among Friends, organized by Gallery Chemould at Museum Gallery, Mumbai
2005 Identity Alienation Amity, Gallerie Publishers and Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai
2005 Edge of Desire Recent Art In India, Asia Society Museum, New York; Tamayo Museum, Mexico City; Museum of Contemporary Art, Monterrey, Mexico; San Francisco Asian Art Museum; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto
2005 Change of Address, The Guild, Mumbai
2005 Tree Basera, India International Centre, New Delhi
2004 The Margi and the Desi, organized by Gallery Espace at Rabindra Bhavan, New Delhi
2004 After Dark, Sakshi Gallery, Bombay
2004 Interlude in Sri Lanka, The Guild, Mumbai
2004 Edge of Desire Recent Art In India, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
2004 In Transit 2, presented by Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai at Alexander Ochs Gallery, Berlin
2003 Ways to Resist, SAHMAT, Rabindra Bhavan, New Delhi
2003 Celebration of Colour, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
2003 Contemporary Miniatures India / Pakistan, The Fine Art Resource, Berlin
2003 Crossing Generations diVERGE, 40 years of the Chemould Gallery at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai
2002 Words and Images, The Guild, Mumbai
2001 Ashta Nayika, Tao Art Gallery, Bombay
2001 In Conversation, Gallery Espace, New Delhi
2001 3 Contemporary Artists, Bose Pacia, New York
2001 Once Upon a Time, Chemould Gallery, Bombay
2000 Celebration of the Human Image, organized by Gallery 42 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi
2000 Vilas, Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Mumbai
2000 Shipments, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai
2000 A Global View Indian Artists at Home in the World, organized by Fine Art Resource at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
1999 Theater und Kunst, The Fine Art Resource, Berlin
1998 Contemporary Indian Art, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi and AI Funoon Gallery, Kuwait
1997-98 Indian Contemporary Art Post Independence, organized by the Vadehra Art Gallery at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi
1997 Contemporary Indian Art An Overview, The Fine Art Resource, Berlin
1997 Major Trends in Indian Art, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
1997 Gift for India, organized by Sahmat in New Delhi and Mumbai
1997 Indias Women Artists A Celebration of Independence, Mills College Art Gallery, Oakland, California
1997 The Self and the World, organized by Gallery Espace, New Delhi at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi
1996 Chamatkar, organized by the Center for International Modern Art (CIMA) Kolkata at Whiteleys Art Gallery, London
1996 Watercolours A Broader Spectrum, Chemould Gallery, Mumbai
1995 A Tree in My Life, The Village Gallery, New Delhi
1995.96 Inside Out Women Artists of India, Middlesborough Art Gallery, Middlesborough, UK
1995 Postcards for Gandhi, organized by Sahmat in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Ahmedabad
1995 A Tribute, 125th Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhis Birth, Little Theatre Gallery, New Delhi
1995 Portraits, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai
1994 Drawing 1994, organized by Gallery Espace, New Delhi at All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS), New Delhi
1992-95 Works on paper, Gallery Espace, New Delhi
1992 Contemporary Indian Art, Bangladesh Shilpa Kala Akademi, Dhaka
1990 Exhibition of Expressions, Women Theater Festival, Mumbai
1989 Artists Alert, organized by Sahmat in New Delhi
1989 Timeless Art, Times of India Sesquicentennial Exhibition organized by Times of India, Mumbai
1988,95,99 Art to Cry, in aid of Child Welfare Organisation, Mumbai
1987-89 Through the Looking Glass, Center for Contemporary Art, New Delhi; Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai; Sista Gallery, Bangalore; Shridharani Gallery, New Delhi and Bharat Bhawan, Bhopal
1985 Work, Exhibition of six Indian painters, sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) in Belgrade, Titograd, Istanbul, Ankara
1982 Contemporary Indian Painting, sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) in Worpswede, Hamburg, Hannover, Braunschweig and Bremen, West Germany
1978 New Contemporaries, organized by Marg and the Indian Art Appreciation Society in Mumbai
1977 Pictorial Space, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
1976.77 Exhibitions with Black Partridge Gallery, New Delhi
1975 Baroda University Silver Jubilee Exhibition, Vadodara, Gujarat
1974 Rabindra Bhawan, New Delhi
1969.72 Art Today, II and IV, Kunika Chemould Art Center, New Delhi


2001 Conversations with Traditions, with Shahzia Sikander at the Asia Society, New York


2013 The Sahmat Collective Art and Activism in India since 1989, University of Chicago Smart Museum of Art, Chicago
2012 The Calendar Project Iconography in the 20th Century, part of the CINEMA CITY Project Research Art & Documentary Practices presented by the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) and the Ministry of Culture, Government of India at the National Gallery of Art Modern ( NGMA), Mumbai
2012 Art for Humanity, Coomaraswamy Hall, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai
2012 To Let the World In Narrative and Beyond in Contemporary Indian Art, as part of Art Chennai Edition II at Lalit Kala Regional Centre, Chennai
2011 Ethos V Indian Art Through the Lens of History (1900 to 1980), Indigo Blue Art, Singapore
2011 Fabulous Bodies New Narratives in the Art of Miniature, Presented by Harmony Art Foundation at Coomaraswamy Hall, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai
2011 Watermark II, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai
2011 Roots in the Air, Branches Below Modern and Contemporary Art from India, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose
2011 Time Unfolded, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA), New Delhi
2010 Place.Time.Play India-China Contemporary Art, West Heavens Exhibition Project, presented by the Shanghai International Cultural Association, Institute of Visual Culture (China Academy of Art) at the Lecture Hall of the Shanghai Art Museum Shanghai, Shanghai
2010 Roots, Sakshi Art Gallery 25th Anniversary Exhibition, Mumbai at The Park, Chennai
2009 ARCOmadrid, Spain presented by curator Bose Krishnamachari for Panorama India
2008-09 Modern India, organized by the Institut Valencià dArt Modern (IVAM) and Casa Asia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture of Valencia, Spain
2008-09 Expanding Horizons Contemporary Indian Art, Traveling Exhibition presented by Bodhi Art at Ravinder Natya Mandir, P.L.Despande Kala Academy Art Gallery, Mumbai; Sant Dyaneshwar Natya Sankul Art Gallery, Amravati; Platinum Jubilee Hall, Nagpur; Tapadia Natya Mandir Sports Hall, Aurangabad; Hirachand Nemchand Vachanalays, Solapur; Acharya Vidyanand Sanskrutik Bhavan, Kolhapur; PGSR Sabhagriha, SNDT, Pune; Sarvajanik Vachanalaya Hall, Nasik
2007 Tiger by the Tail, Brandeis University, Waltham/Boston
1996 The Second Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
1995 Dispossession, Africus, First Johannesburg Biennale, South Africa
1986 Third Asia Biennale, Dhaka

Nilima Sheikh describes herself as part of the third generation of artists who have engaged with Indian traditions. To be specific, there was the generation of Abanindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose and Benode Behari Mukherjee followed by one of her students K G Subramanyan whom she looked to for inspiration.


Initially trained in Western-style oil painting, the artist has spent most of her student and professional life in Baroda. Nilima Sheikh was born in 1945 in New Delhi. She studied history at the University of Delhi (1962-65) and painting at the Baroda College of Fine Arts. (MA Fine, 1971). She taught painting at the Faculty between 1977 and 1981. According to her, Baroda, in the 1960s, certainly identified with modernism. There was an attempt to clear away the dead wood that had accumulated around the older Santiniketan experiment. At the same time, many of the influential masters recognized the value of history and reinventing tradition.


She elaborates to say: "Baroda saw himself as quite distinct from Bombay's progressive painters. After all, K.G. Subramanyan was very active in Baroda during my student days, as a teacher, ideologue and artist. He was definitely so interested in exploring Indian craft traditions such as oil painting. And his concerns were all about bridging these dichotomies. He was a great inspiration to me." Nilima Sheikh claims a lineage born of pre-independence Indian nationalism fostered in the climate of progressive internationalism of the 1940s and 1950s. Sheikh turned her attention to miniature painting midway through her career. Her relationship with pre-modern painting has been more oriented toward its visual forms than toward its technical aspects.


In addition to exhibiting her work in India and internationally, the artist has lectured on Indian art at many venues in India and internationally. "Conversations with Traditions: Nilima Sheikh and Shahzia Sikander" which featured paintings by the two artists of disparate religious and aesthetic cultures from India and Pakistan, as part of the inaugural celebration of the new Asia Society Museum in New York in 2001-2002, is one of his memorable shows. She presented around 30 individual works by each artist, including works from her early encounters with miniature painting, as well as recent work that suggests the changing nature of such relationships. In addition, the artists created specially commissioned collaborative work.


Art critic Randi Hoffman mentioned her work: "Sheikh is more painterly and elegant. Her symbols are simpler and deeper, and her subject matter is more emotional. The twenty-plus years she has been painting shows in apparent ease and level of achievement in their job. She was later quoted as saying, "I found working on an intimate scale on paper a very liberating experience. I could talk about things that would seem incongruous on a framed canvas on a wall. I still feel there are new avenues left unexplored (in this medium). , and that there is still much to do."


Her new body of work on Kashmir, with a focus on the poetry of Kashmiri poet Agha Shahid Ali, formed the core of her recent series titled "The Country Without a Post Office-Agha Shahid Ali Reading." As the painter recounts: "I had planned a larger and more ambitious take, wanting to read and consult various historical and contemporary accounts of Kashmir to try to put together configurations to rework my rather confused or at least mixed feelings about Kashmir.


He (Agha Shahid Ali) seemed to have said almost everything he thought to say and more! I found his poetry incredibly moving and also extremely visual, which gave me input to try to 'illustrate' the text, something he had been trying to do for a while. Although I have often tried to illustrate passages from the poems per se, I have often gone back and forth between connected images drawn from passages in other poems. Therefore, there is often a repetition of the motif and a certain amount of blurring." The vertical paintings also come from sources other than Agha Shahid Ali, an account from Jahangir's memoirs here and there, or a few lines from a Chinese tale. , or Midnight's Children. become a source of inspiration as a leitmotiv.


In 1984, he painted a series of 12 small tempera paintings titled "When Champa Grew Up" which told the true story of a young married woman who is tortured and burned by her in-laws. The first panels show a happy girl, playing on a swing and riding a bicycle. Her marriage ceremony is then shown, along with a flock of birds symbolizing her departure from her parents' house. Next, she is depicted naked and crying as she works in the kitchen, perhaps after being beaten. And in the final panels, they portray her funeral pyre, and women crying in mourning.


Through traditional languages, she portrayed the harsh reality and violence of contemporary life. The painter recounts: "It seemed inevitable that I would paint her story. I wanted to paint the dowry deaths before the death of Champa (not the girl's real name) because we were confronted daily in the newspapers. But I struggled to find a way that he could contain the anguish without reducing it to a cliché.


"I chose serial form pages, folio images to turn around and read from the side. To delineate the event in time and space, I tried a one-third or two-thirds subdivision of some of the paintings as a means of enlarging the painterly image. I painted a cast of whiting on Sanganer handmade valid paper with paint tempered with gum Arabic or dissolved whiting in the glue size mediums traditionally used in Rajasthani and Pahari paintings on paper."


Once she finished the painting, Gulam Mohammed Sheikh helped her find songs from the Gujarati oral tradition that could actually function as texts with the serially painted images. It was both ironic and gratifying for the artist to find traditional verses closely related to her paintings. The last of her 12 works was the image of her that pushed her to paint the set. The women express their pain; beating their breasts, and singing their pain together.


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