Nilima Sheikh

Nilima Sheikh was born in 1945 in New Delhi. She studied history at the Delhi University (1 962-65) and painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda. (MA Fine, 1971). She has taught painting at the Faculty between 1977 and 1981. Nilima Sheikh held her first solo exhibition in New Delhi in 1983, and has shown her work widely since then' Her practice has embraced various kinds of painting, from the hand-held miniature to the construct at an architectural scale, and from conventionally hung paintings to scrolls and screens for the theatre stage. Prominent exlubitions include solo shows m Bombay, Delhi andahmedabad (1983, '84, '85, '93 and '95), Group Exhibition, New Delhi (1974), Pictorial Space, New Delhi (1977), New Contemporaries, Bombay (1978), touring exhibition in West Gertnany (1982), Through the Looking Glass, Bhopal, New Delhi, Bangalore, Bombay (1987 - 89), Dispossession, Africus, First Johannesburg Biennale, South Africa (1995) and The Second Asia-Pacific Triennale of Contemporary Art, Brisbane (1966). Nilima Sheikh has travelled and lectured on Indian art at many venues in India and internationally. Her research on the Pichwalis of Nathdwara (1986-87) was supported by the National Handloom and Handicraft Museum. She has been part of Indian artists' delegations to Bangladesh, China, South Africa and Australia. Her interest in theatre design resulted in the painted sets for Vivadi's 1993 production of Umrao, performed in New Delhi and Bombay. Having inherited a concern with traditional art forms through her teacher K.G. Subramanyan, she has sought to formulate a practice that is at the same time grounded in its technical aspects and innovative in the uses of technique. Working with casein and tempera, her paintings give evidence of a passionate concern with drawing and colour to produce intensel y sensuous and poetic representations of the everyday and the supra-mundane. Her work from the 1980s concerns itself with the immediate environs, with objects, interiors and landscapes, familiar figures, flora and fauna. The series When Champa grew UP from 1984 marks a major watershed in her practice. Here, in a series of twelve small tempera paintings unfolds the narrative of a young girl who goes dirough marriage, torture and immolation at the hands of her husband's family, voicing the artist's concern with the everyday, her measured anger and a resolution of the concern with portraying the unsettling reality of contemporary life through an amalgam of traditional idioms. More recently, her concerns have been more to do with historical dimensions of feminine subjectivity, and with the transcendental urge in the lament of the lover. Her work has straddled many traditions, from the Japanese Ukiyo-e to Rajasthan, Pahari and Mughal miniatures.

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Nilima Sheikh
Ballad
Casein tempra on Canvas
72" x 28"
1993

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Nilima Sheikh
When Champa grew up
Gum  tempra on Canvas
8" x 13.4"
1984