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Artist of the Day | Surendran Nair

Surendran Nair - Mallard

Surendran Nair

Mallard, 2017 Oil on canvas 35 × 23 in


Surendran Nair is widely considered one of India’s greatest living artists. Drawing his imagery from Indian and Greek mythologies, Nair paints using many of the pictorial strategies of Surrealism, such as dream landscapes, the juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated objects, and symbolic creatures. The result of the fusion is a unique aesthetic, blending classical Indian representational techniques with a figurative style similar to those of René Magritte and Francesco Clemente. He often uses ancient myth to comment on the sociopolitics of post-colonial India. His most famous work, An Actor Rehearsing the Interior Monologue of Icarus (2000) depicts a naked, winged man standing on the Ashoka Column—a sacred Indian symbol. The widespread outrage prompted Nair to remove all his paintings from an exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, catapulting him to even greater fame.

Indian, b. 1956, Onakoor, Kerala courtesy of

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