About B Prabha
Prabha was a prolific Indian artist who worked primarily in oil on canvas. She is best known for her graceful, elongated figures of pensive rural women, each dominated by a single colour. Prabha started working at a time when India had few women artists. She was deeply inspired by the work of seminal modernist Amrita Sher-Gil. Much like Sher-Gil, the protagonists of Prabha's works were usually women. She was moved by the plight of rural women, and over time, they became the main theme of her work. Her paintings also covered a wide range of subjects from landscapes to social issues like droughts, hunger and homelessness.In her formative years, Prabha was equally interested in music and art. Later, she chose art after completing her schooling. An early inspiration was the pioneering Indian-Hungarian modern artist, Amrita Sher-Gil. Like Sher-Gil, Prabha dreamed of being a renowned artist, taking her paintings to all corners of the world.
At her first exhibition, held when she was still a student at art school, 3 of Prabha's paintings were acquired by Homi J. Bhabha, eminent nuclear scientist and patron of the arts, for the iconic art collection of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. Prabha's signature formal style evolved after her marriage to B. Vithal, when she moved from a modern abstraction to more decorative figuration.
Prabha's graceful, elongated figures of rural women spotlighted their lives, labour, and the very real contemporary threat of drought, hunger and homelessness. It is significant to note that Prabha, a female artist practicing in an age where women were unapologetically oppressed, used her position and voice as an artist to comment on the same. While her work today might seem like a simple documentation of the figures of rural women, a few decades ago the works were rebellious, and conscious remarks on spirit and the plight of these women.As she famously said, "It is my aim to paint the trauma and tragedy of women.
Prabha studied at the Nagpur School of Art, before moving to Bombay on a scholarship, completing her Diploma in Painting and Mural Painting at the Sir J. J. School of Art in the year 1954-55.
First Prize at the Bombay State Art Exhibition in 1958.
All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS) Awards, New Delhi.
B Prabha's Works