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Anjolie Ela Menon
1940

Born in West Bengal, Anjolie Ela Menon studied art at J. J. School of Art in Bombay, earned a degree in English Literature from Delhi University and studied Fresco in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1959-61 on a French Government scholarship. She has had over sixty solo shows in India, America, Russia, Germany, Hong Kong, France and England. In 2002, a retrospective of her work was held at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai and subsequently in Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi. Her works have been acquired by several museums in India and abroad including the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi; Benjamin Gray Museum, Peabody Essex Museum and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. It is worth mentioning that the Asian Art Museum held a six month long solo exhibition of Menon and acquired her seminal work titled Yatra. She has presented India at the Algiers Biennale, the Sao Paulo Biennale, Paris Biennale, and three Triennales in India. Anjolie Ela Menon’s mural ‘Walled City’ commissioned for the Indira Gandhi International Airport (T3), New Delhi is one of her greatest, most ambitious and magnificent works.

Anjolie Ela Menon’s works are figurative with immense depth. The more you look at them the more these works communicate with you.  Her palette, bright yet subdued, sometimes even sombre, has immense power to mesmerize the viewer. The figures- often symbolic and evocative of her attitude to life- with their gestures and stances complement and support her using of colour. The eyes, hands and other body parts seem so real that you could feel them. Lives and works of great artists like Van Gogh, Modigliani, Amrita Sher Gil, and M.F.Husain have always inspired her.

Three books including the one, titled ‘ANJOLIE ELA MENON: Paintings in Private Collections’ which is on her life and work have been published. Lalit Kala Akademi has taken out her portfolio and films have been made on her for Doordarshan and CNN. She has been a trustee of Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts and served on the advisory committee and art purchase committee of the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi. Apart from creating artworks she runs an NGO for the education of needy children.

She has been recipient of many prestigious awards including Padma Shri by the Government of India, the Chevalier dans I’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government. Government of Delhi conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award on her, as one of the leading Indian artists of her generation.

Anjolie Ela Menon lives and works in New Delhi.