"Inspiring and wonderful! The colours are emotional!”
More and more Desi contemporary painters are using social media site, Instagram to educate and cater for art lovers across the world.
Instagram is ideal for painters, with it being a primarily a visual medium. With the growing presence of social media in our lives, the popularity of online paintings is simultaneously increasing.
Art is a powerful generator to express human feelings. While scrolling Instagram at home, work or during travelling we may come across a genuinely touching painting that may change our day.
Paintings can evoke nostalgia, sadness, happiness or even transform our perspectives on life.
By showcasing their work, painters increase their audience and purge their emotions at the same time.
DESIblitz presents ten interesting and different Desi contemporary painters on Instagram, each with their own, authentic style.
Bhupen Khakar was born in Mumbai on March 10, 1934. He sadly passed away in Baroda on August 8, 2003. He was a prominent and influential figure in contemporary 20th-century Indian art.
The Tate Instagram page represents the work of this highly appreciated artist, captioning the paintings with a description.
Tate Modern, a gallery of contemporary art in London made an international retrospective exhibition of his paintings post-death.
Named after one of his painting, the exhibition is called You Can’t Please All.
On May 25. 2016, the Tate Instagram page posted Khakar’s oil painting American Survey Officer (1969).
It shows a conversation between three men in an exotic environment. The dark green setting of the painting creates a surreal, magical effect.
Fans on Instagram recognise the Bhupen’s ability to turn a mundane situation into an exquisite piece of art.
Commenting on the painting, one user writes:
“Inspiring and wonderful! The colours are emotional!”
If you want to buy printed collections of his artwork, visit the Tate website here. In his art, Khakar mostly tackles with everyday struggles of ordinary men.
Speaking about the role of an artist, Khakhar said in 1978.
“Human beings in their local environment, climate, provincial society: this should be the ultimate goal of the artist.”
His work is deeply individualistic and contains narratives from everyday life with influences from Pop Art.
Being part of the LGBT community, the undercurrents of sexuality are present in his work. He mirrored his unique and evolving insights about sexuality, and class in the paintings using the figurative style.
His paintings on the Tate Instagram page do not fail to surprise and evoke questions about our own understanding of the world.
Irfan Cheema is a Pakistani artist born in 1975. After completing his fashion design degree from Pakistan, he moved to Cairo in 2001.
Cheema is a self-taught painter who had his very first exhibition in Cairo.
Besides being a painter, he lectures aspiring designers. He has been living in Shanghai, China, with his family for more than ten years.
On his official Instagram accounts, he tends to posts painting on a frequent basis.
On January 17, 2019, he added the oil painting Still life with Roses and Chinese brocade. In the painting, Cheema transforms an ordinary scene of roses magical and profoundly beautiful.
Appreciating his painting, a user on Instagram comments:
“Love how you painted the glass and the blue fabric is magical.”
The mix of the modern city and history along with traditional culture is what inspires him.
His highly detailed and precise paintings belong to the classic realism style. He mostly paints still life, capturing the moments from everyday life.
The experience with design is apparent in the way he very elegantly matches the colours.
Through his paintings, we can also see very detailed portrayals of nature, life and various heritage sites he has visited.
In his online journal, he offers an interesting commentary on the paintings. In that way, he connects with his audience.
Osama Sayed is a young Pakistani queer Instagram painter.
A student from National College of Arts in Lahore, he is an aspiring artist that embraces the darker side of life in his art.
The Instagram fraternity is delighted by his original and remake paintings of world-famous artists.
For example, he worked on the paintings, The Mysteries of the Horizon (1955) by René Magritte, and The Kiss (1907-1908) by Gustav Klimt.
On January 24, 2017, Sayed put up his pastel version on ‘The Mysteries of the Horizon’ by René Magritte.
The painting shows three men, all turned away from each other, even though they are under the same moon. It symbolises isolation and loneliness.
Under a description of the painting, Osama describes:
“Half of the problems are there because of loneliness, other half are there because of the people.”
A fan of this painting on Instagram mentions: “I love all your remakes”.
A personal touch of his own emotions in the remake paintings has drawn a lot of interest on Instagram.
When it comes to Sayed’s own paintings, his unique ideas will refresh your feed.
In his paintings, Osama boldly expresses despair, depression and existential crisis.
He paints torsos of bodies over book pages, as well as planets and humans in painful confinements, reflecting their inner conflicts.
His paintings are often combined with carefully chosen quotes of famous authors. The blend of poignant images and words will make one fall in love with this artist.
He also makes postcards that people can order over direct messages.
Hiba Schahbaz is a young, gifted and active painter born in Karachi, Pakistan who lives in Brooklyn, New York, USA
She excelled in miniature painting at National College of Arts in Lahore. She also obtained an MFA, Master of Fine Arts In Painting from Pratt Institute, New York, USA.
The main themes that she explores in her Instagram paintings are tied to the meaning of being a female in the world.
Schahbaz considers herself a performer and uses photos of her body to create paintings.
She actively posts images on Instagram. On January 17, 2019, she shared a watercolour self-portrait painting with Two Moons.
The image depicts a nude utopian vision of a female surrounded by flowers and the wind.
The painting sends the message that though a woman can be beautiful, there are times when she feels restrained.
Touched by the painting, a user on Instagram responds by writing: “I’m melting.”
Publications such as Vogue, The Huffington Post and others have showcased her brilliant work.
Hiba has had numerous solo shows, including The Garden at Spring/Break Art Show in 2018.
Since moving to the US, her techniques have varied from Indo-Persian miniature paintings to human-scale artworks on paper.
The materials she uses are mainly paper, black tea and water-based pigments.
On her personal website, Schahbaz describes her paintings mentioning:
“These works address issues of personal freedom, destruction, sexuality and censorship by unveiling the beauty, fragility and strength of the female form.”
Sadhu Aliyur is a prominent and versatile international painter born in Aliyur, Kozhikkode District, India.
He developed his style when studying Fine Arts at Kerala School of Arts, Thalassery. Aliyur has displayed his work in more than twenty-eight exhibitions.
He is an art instructor at Bushman’s School of Arts, South Bazaar, Kannur, India. The artist is also the co-founder of the non-profit Colouring India Foundation, a visual arts education centre.
Sadhu paints water coloured landscapes of his hometown Mahe, Puducherry. He shares his paintings quite frequently on Instagram.
All his paintings have a characteristic, and recognisable style. Soothing sceneries makes one feel as if they are present at the location.
On his Instagram profile, Aliyur posted the untitled watercolour painting of Kerala, Bangalore. The painting shows two local people in the shadows of palm trees, staring at the sea.
The watery traces resemble the peaceful atmosphere of the sea environment.
He uses the technique of transparent water colouring without white pigment. Therefore, his paintings contain light colours that create a meditative effect while looking at them.
They depict intense internal interpretation of the painter’s environment and carry a sense of nostalgia and patriotism.
Sadhu is very in tune with the movements of nature and ingeniously transfers that on canvas. Aliyur says:
“When you stand in front of an original watercolour work, you will feel a lot of positive energy.”
Sadhu is the only Indian artist who has had his work exhibited at the International Watercolour Society (IWS) for three consecutive years (2012-2014).
Visit his Instagram profile for a dose of beautiful Indian landscapes.
Harmeet Rahal is a Mumbai based illustrator and graphic designer.
His paintings on Instagram are vibrant and colourful. He imaginatively adds special effects to humans and animals.
Despite posting his painting images only a couple of times a month, he still does attract an audience. His paintings are optimistic and colourful. They can be soothing on a rainy day.
On February 7, 2018, he posted an unnamed painting on Instagram of a man with paint over his left eye.
The painting certainly surprises and evokes questions about the mysterious man.
The organised and deliberate messiness of colours sheds a different light on the man with a moustache, making him look interesting.
This young artist’s refreshing pieces with bright colours will pull you back into the moment.
Rahal has exhibited at the Mumbai Zine Bazar in collaboration with writer Tanvi Kanchan and sculptor Sahej Rahal.
The trio combined textual and visual aspects to create powerful narratives.
The collage Bodies (Punter vol.1) deals with the human body and covers the themes of identity, gender, loss and violence. Lori (Punter vol. 2) is a collage of past and present myths.
Harmeet explains about Bodies and Lori:
“Within its pages, you will find strange beasts unwinding among absurd parables of unknown lands that curiously begin to resemble the city of Bombay.”
Minaa Moshin is a Pakistani painter, who now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, USA.
Mohsin graduated from National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan IN 2013. She earned an MA in Fine Arts from Pratt University, New York in 2016.
She is very active on Instagram, with very few periods when she does not post. Waiting for her paintings is always worthwhile.
On her Instagram, you will find paintings of chairs or kitchen utensils that convey how inanimate objects dominate us.
Her brightly coloured paintings reflect the dominant materialistic society.
On July 6, 2018, she posted an interesting untitled acrylic painting on her Instagram feed. The painting captures a powerful and bright image of a girl laying down at home.
The girl in the painting is looking far ahead as she is lying down on some couch.
Even though the environment seems cozy and familiar, there is a sense of longing, suggesting someone is missing.
Minaa believes that some objects become a sentimental part of our identity. That is why she reflects on objects from her parents’ house as inspiration.
Moshin reveals on her website:
“The paintings glorify common decorative motifs and household objects that become cherished members of the family.”
Mohsin is aiming to achieve the effect of impressiveness, yet repulsiveness in her paintings.
Her artwork was used in the two-person show, Dual Dynamic at Khaas Gallery, Islamabad in 2014.
She has showcased her work in many Pakistani galleries including at the Al-Hamra Arts Council and Zahoor ul Ikhlaq Gallery in Lahore.
Minaa has also participated in several group shows in the USA, such as group Exhibition at Olympia Art Collective.
Amal Uppal is an illustrator, painter, and a game designer based in Lahore, Pakistan. She works in Lahore and Brooklyn, New York, USA.
The young artist has held many exhibitions in Pakistan and in the USA.
She usually takes a couple of weeks away from on Instagram when creating her art. When Uppal returns to the social media site, she often posts several images in one day.
Amal’s Instagram feed is overflowing with symmetrical dark water coloured paintings of city structures, museums and galleries.
However, there are a few paintings with pastel, gentle colours. One of them is an untitled impressionist painting of a wall mural that she posted on April 24, 2017.
The painting shows abstract flowers and a bird on a pink base.
The fascinating figures are minimalistic, yet so touching.
Uppal is inspired by Salvador but does not compare her work time, as she reveals:
“I’m not going to compare my work to Dali because I’m obviously nowhere there yet but the concept is somewhat inspired by how he would paint a portrait but not really paint it – he would paint what he felt about it.”
Amal and Mina Arham exhibited their collection Urban Landscapes at My Art World Gallery in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Uppal said that her work reflects her hometown Lahore.
Suchitra Bhosle was born in 1975, in Kolhapur, India. How she lives in California, USA.
She is a figurative and portrait painter, with her Instagram page brimming with realistic paintings. Bhosle is great at reliving history and memories in her artwork.
Bhosle‘s style is practical with impressionistic influences. She is inspired by 20th-century naturalist painters.
On September 23, 2017, she posted an untitled oil painting of an Indian woman picking cotton in the field.
Bhosle writes in her description that the painting embodies her character. She is very hardworking and persistent when it comes to painting.
An art admirer on Instagram replied to the image, commenting:
“This is beautiful!!! I can’t explain why but I feel like I’m really at this scenery looking at what’s happening!
“Love the colors, lighting and how you captured this moment!!!!!!!!”
Suchitra paints everyday life moments and draws inspiration from Californian nature and history, and from her childhood in India.
Speaking about this, Bhosle told Southwest Art magazine:
“These influences of growing up in India are part of my DNA and are invariably finding their way onto the canvas.”
On Bhosle’s canvas, there often appear portraits of naked women and idyllic romantic scenes of people in nature.
The mood of the painted subjects is peaceful and contemplative. Her works have been exhibited across USA galleries including in Santa Fe and Washington DC.
She has won awards at international shows hosted by American Impressionist Society and others.
Chennai born Kartikey Sharma is a Mumbai based graffiti artist and painter.
On his Instagram feed, one can mostly see painting images of people with different facial expressions, each conveying a different emotion.
By scrolling down his feed, once can expect a couple of posts every week.
Sharma added an untitled erotic acrylic painting of a blue woman in a red bra on his Instagram on October 11, 2018.
The provocative and beautiful painting depicts the eternal and inspiring beauty of the female body.
Fascinated by the painting, a fan remarks: “In love with this painting.”
His Instagram artworks also show his battle with cancer. There are drawings of him being confined, and abstract images showing emptiness.
He also held a TEDx talk From Cancer to Canvas about fighting cancer with art.
Kartikey is optimistic and motivational for all aspiring artists, advising:
“The secret is to keep doing what you love.”
Opportunities in today’s world are numerous and they’ll soon knock at your door.”
The life stories of the aforementioned artists overflow in their paintings, as people get to know them through their artwork.
Painters see reality differently, as they capture the moments in life and make them eternal in their paintings.
They have the ability to slow us down in our modern busy lifestyle. Moreover, it has never been easier to access the best pieces of art, for free.
Hopefully, you will enjoy the artwork of these 10 Desi contemporary painters on Instagram.