7 Top Female Artists Defining Modern Indian Art

Dive into the transformative world of Indian art through these female artists who are fearlessly rejuvenating the artistic scene.

7 Top Female Artists Defining Modern Indian Art

Her pieces burst forth with a dreamlike quality

Bold, innovative, and thought-provoking, the uncompromising female artists are reviving and transforming the Indian artistic landscape.

Through their unique visions, these seven dynamic women are skillfully presenting overlooked histories and speculative tales in innovative ways.

Breaking from tradition and using new influences, these female artists have established a crucial framework for contemporary art, globally. 

Their expressive, emotive, and reflective work depicts narratives of sorrow, community, love, and growth. 

threads narratives of overlooked histories and speculative tales of a future that breaks free from tradition.

In the current artistic milieu, the female gaze acts as a catalyst for change.

To embrace womanhood, one might argue, is to understand one’s place, and these forward-thinking starlets are shaping their space.

Manjot Kaur

7 Top Female Artists Defining Modern Indian Art

Born in the bustling city of Ludhiana, Manjot Kaur is an artist with a profound connection to nature.

As she divides her time between Chandigarh and Vancouver, her roots in the industrial and agrarian landscape of Ludhiana continue to influence her artistic journey.

In 2012, Manjot graduated with a University Gold Medal from the Government College of Art in Chandigarh.

This educational foundation emphasised skill and aesthetic beauty, principles that have remained integral to her work.

However, as she experienced various environments, Manjot’s artistic vision expanded, drawing her towards abstraction and the allure of the unfamiliar.

Her exploration of the natural world reached new heights during the lockdown with her Hybrid Beings series, While She Births an Ecosystem.

This evocative work, featuring a faceless female figure, delves into the realms beyond humanity, inspired by the writings of Bruno Latour, Anna Tsing, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Donna Haraway.

Manjot’s artistic journey is punctuated with enriching experiences.

She was a Visiting Artist Fellow at Harvard University in 2023 and has had residencies in Italy, Bangalore, and the Netherlands.

7 Top Female Artists Defining Modern Indian Art

Using intricate details, vibrant colours, almost psychedelic images, and curvy strokes, Manjot is looking ahead to an illustrious career. 

Off the back of her Green Snake exhibition in Hong Kong and Becoming Earths showcase in Amsterdam, she is one of the female artists changing the perception of art. 

Her accolades speak for themselves, which include a 30-under-30 selection by the Hindustan Times and a State Award from Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi.

Her commitment to exploring the boundaries between human and non-human worlds is evident in her thought-provoking artworks.

Arpita Singh

7 Top Female Artists Defining Modern Indian Art

Arpita Singh, a luminary among the contemporary artists of her generation, has carved an enduring legacy through her whimsical canvases.

Transitioning through various phases, Singh’s oeuvre evolved from black-and-white abstract works to the enchanting narratives that define her today.

Her pieces burst forth with a dreamlike quality, where each stroke tells a story, woven from mythology, fiction, Bengali folklore, and everyday objects.

A figurative artist and modernist, Singh draws inspiration from traditional Indian art forms such as miniaturist painting and folk art.

Her works serve as a topographical view into the experiences and movements of women, both in her country and across the globe.

Singh paints a range of emotions, creating a profound dialogue with her subjects, offering viewers an intimate glimpse into her ongoing communication with them.

7 Top Female Artists Defining Modern Indian Art

Due to her skillset, Singh has received worldwide recognition.

Her retrospective at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art in 2019 showcased a lifetime of practice and received stupendous critical acclaim.

The global stage has also witnessed her participation in exhibitions like the Kochi-Muziris Biennale and Asia Society Triennale.

Her accolades mirror the depth of her impact – from the Parishad Samman by the Sahitya Kala Parishad, New Delhi, in 1991, to the prestigious Padma Bhushan in 2011. 

Arpita Singh, a master of her craft, calls New Delhi her home, where her studio breathes life into canvases that resonate with the heartbeat of the human experience.

As one of the rare artists of her generation who continues to create, Singh invites art lovers to immerse themselves in her vivid landscapes.

Komal Madar

7 Top Female Artists Defining Modern Indian Art

Komal Madaris is a British Indian who has a deep connection to her roots.

Her artistic adventure began early, nurtured by the diverse and culturally rich surroundings of London’s ‘Little India’ neighbourhood in Southall.

It was here that her fascination with creativity took root.

Formally trained in fine arts, Komal’s evolution shifted when she delved into textiles – a medium that would become the essence of her creative expression.

The first cut, down the middle, marked the birth of what would become her acclaimed Yoni series.

The collection involves stylised sculptural vulvas, meticulously crafted from discarded South Asian textiles.

Flicking, scraping, cutting, tearing, and even burning materials, Komal creates layers that breathe life into her compositions.

7 Top Female Artists Defining Modern Indian Art

In April 2023, Komal embarked on a transformative journey to Rajasthan (Jaipur) to study Indian miniature painting under the guidance of master painter Ajay Sharma.

A true disciple of ‘the process,’ she immersed herself in the art form, gaining insights that will undoubtedly shape the evolution of her Yoni series.

Speaking on her career, she told Vogue India, who featured her in their Nov/Dec 2023 issue: 

“As an artist, I want to keep the conversation changing through the mediums I use.”

Beyond the confines of her studio, Komal’s artistic impact resonates globally.

Her Instagram reels and TikTok videos have captivated over 15 million viewers.

As she continues to explore new dimensions of her art, Komal Madar remains a beacon of creativity.

Anju Dodiya

7 Top Female Artists Defining Modern Indian Art

Anju Dodiya discovered her artistic calling at the Sir J.J. School of Art, where her early foray into abstract paintings laid the foundation for a unique art practice.

Dodiya’s muse is a fusion of inspiration drawn from Medieval Renaissance art, miniature paintings, poetry, Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, and the enchanting world of European cinema.

With an arsenal of mediums, including works on mattresses, she dances between her innermost thoughts and the stark truths of the world around her.

Her art becomes a mirror reflecting not only her own story but also a broader commentary on the human condition.

7 Top Female Artists Defining Modern Indian Art

Her highlights include the Sharjah Biennale, Conversations on Tomorrow at Sadie Coles, and Anatomy of a Flame at Frieze Cork Street.

Likewise, the artist’s oeuvre has left an indelible mark in prestigious collections worldwide, including the Tate Modern in London and the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi.

Living and creating amidst the dynamic energy of Mumbai, Anju Dodiya continues to be a luminary, constantly evolving and pushing the boundaries of her creativity. 

Rithika Pandey

7 Top Female Artists Defining Modern Indian Art

Embark on a journey into the vivid and imaginative world of Rithika Pandey, a contemporary visual artist whose canvas comes alive with bold colours and rich symbolism.

Rithika’s artworks are more than mere paintings; they are portals to alternate worlds, where adventure, transformation, and recovery are the guiding ethos.

These works, pulsating with symbolic charge, force new connections between the human and the more-than-human.

In her creations, ritualised dynamism unfolds.

Her artistic journey began as a quest to connect with like-minded ancestors.

Stepping away from art school for a year, Rithika immersed herself in two transformative residency programs – one in a quaint Portuguese town, the other on an organic farm in Spain.

Her sojourns also led her to explore the enchanting landscapes of the Scottish countryside, where the connection between her art and the natural world was sown.

7 Top Female Artists Defining Modern Indian Art

Inspired by the writings of Donna Haraway and Ursula K Le Guin, Rithika shapes her artistic practice through the lens of science and research.

In this realm, futuristic protagonists navigate impossible landscapes, speaking of collective resilience, recovery, and transformation.

Looking forward, Rithika is on a quest to deepen her exploration into the philosophies and practices of ecology.

As she continues to bridge the gap between art, science, and nature, Rithika Pandey invites art-loving souls to join her in a realm where each stroke tells a story of the boundless possibilities of the more-than-human.

Gargi Chandola

7 Top Female Artists Defining Modern Indian Art

Gargi Chandola is a self-taught visual artist hailing from the bustling heart of New Delhi.

Her artistic journey is a kaleidoscope of observations, everyday musings, and flights of imagination.

From her earliest memories, Gargi has been captivated by the allure of art.

Her career initially unfolded in the realm of graphic design, where she dabbled in creating artwork for occasional groups.

Then, the unforeseen arrival of the pandemic disrupted the design landscape, prompting Gargi to reconsider her artistic path.

Seizing the opportunity to delve into a long-cherished dream, she embarked on a journey to study Pahari Miniature.

The quaint Himachal Pradesh became her creative haven, where she studied under the guidance of a master artist, unlocking the secrets of Pahari Miniature art.

In 2021, Gargi initiated her Macaqophony series, a profound exploration of feminism, collective history, violence, and sexual agency.

7 Top Female Artists Defining Modern Indian Art

Her art finds expression through various mediums – paintings predominantly on paper, illustrated zines, and expansive murals that breathe life into her imaginings.

Gargi Chandola is not just an artist; she is also the co-founder of Post-Art Project, a multidisciplinary arts studio. 

When she had her first solo showcase in early 2023, the exhibition garnered attention and opened doors to a slate of commissions that Gargi immersed in. 

In September, she was part of “Play” a group showcase of contemporary miniature artists at Bengaluru’s KAASH Foundation, where her unique themes stood out.

As the only woman in the lineup, it emphasises just how she’s one of the most sought-after Indian artists. 

Jayeeta Chatterjee

7 Top Female Artists Defining Modern Indian Art

Jayeeta Chatterjee’s artistic roots trace back to Visva Bharati University, where she completed her BFA in Printmaking.

Her unique approach involves delving into the domestic and monotonous aspects of women’s lives, bringing to light the stories of homemakers.

Trained as a printmaker, she takes a distinctive path by preparing large woodblocks and printing compositions on old saris collected directly from the women she represents in her work.

Her artistic palette extends to the traditional quilting technique known as Nakshi Kantha, revealing the geographical nuances of Bengali culture.

Jayeeta is not confined by a single medium; she skillfully practices Pochampally, a weaving technique from Hyderabad, and the Kantha stitch – a traditional embroidery method of Bengal.

In her creations, mythological tales, floral motifs, and the day-to-day stories of homemakers shine.

Her choice of woodcut prints stems from its ability to capture textured black and white tonality, a perfect fit for the architectural forms that captivate her artistic gaze. 

7 Top Female Artists Defining Modern Indian Art

Driven by a profound curiosity, Jayeeta documented the day-to-day lives of homemakers through sketches, photographs, and audio recordings.

Her artistic pursuits have taken her to diverse landscapes, from successful residencies in Delhi and Mumbai to documenting conversations with fisherwomen during the Mumbai Urban Art Festival.

In September 2023, she participated in Chemould Prescott Road’s 60th-anniversary showcase. And, she will continue to make strides within this artistic landscape. 

Within contemporary Indian art, the fearless and transformative voices of female artists echo loudly, challenging conventions and reshaping narratives. 

The emergence of the female gaze as a critical lens in interpreting modern Indian art signals a profound shift.

It invites us to contemplate what it truly means to view the world through a distinctly feminine perspective.

Through these portrayals, the female figure becomes a powerful conduit, embodying both strength and vulnerability.

These Indian artists stand as trailblazers and are certainly paving a new innovative way towards a unique art scene.

Balraj is a spirited Creative Writing MA graduate. He loves open discussions and his passions are fitness, music, fashion, and poetry. One of his favourite quotes is “One day or day one. You decide.”

Images courtesy of Instagram.

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