Tate   Bhupen Khakhar

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Khakhar: Barber's Shop (custom print)
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          Artwork details

          Barber's Shop, 1973, 1973
          Bhupen Khakhar
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          Oil on canvas. 103.5 x 103.5 cm. Devinder and Kanwaldeep Sahney © Estate of Bhupen Khakhar.

          This painting draws on a style of colonial Anglo-Indian painting popular in the 18th century that aimed to objectively record facets of Indian life, in particular different trades. Khakhar adapts the formal tone of these paintings to his unique style, creating an image full of fantasy and humour. With bubble-gum pink floor and green walls, it eschews realism in favour of capturing a deeper sense of truth.

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          Artist details

          A key figure in 20th century painting, Bhupen Khakhar’s pictures depict the world with unflinching honesty and deep humanity. Born in Bombay in 1934, he worked as an accountant by day and painted in his spare time. His portraits of hairdressers, shopkeepers and accountants challenged the art establishment, recasting the ordinary lives of normal lower-middle class Indians into grand, vibrantly coloured compositions. His later works confronted issues of sexuality and identity. These uncompromising and provocative works were often autobiographical, a means through which he addressed his own homosexuality with rare sensitivity and wit.

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