Tate   Bhupen Khakhar

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Khakhar: Injured Head of Raju (custom print)
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          Artwork details

          Injured Head of Raju, 2001, 2001
          Bhupen Khakhar
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          Watercolour on paper. 113 x 111 cm. Estate of Bhupen Khakhar (NGMA) © Estate of Bhupen Khakhar

          Created towards the end of Khakhar’s life, as his battle with cancer took its toll on his body, this visceral, intense portrait fuses the physical deterioration that was the subject of much of his work during this period with a benign calmness. Painted in rich watercolours, the subject look outs at the viewer through eyes obscured by blood that pours from his head.

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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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