Shobha Broota (born 1943, New Delhi) trained as a classical Indian vocalist before studying fine art, and it is no wonder that her art “aspires to the condition of music”, to borrow the words of Victorian essayist Walter Pater. Like our classical raags, Broota’s canvases have a tranquility and deceptive simplicity. Her abstract forms allow for a meditative reverie untethered to the confines of a narrative. Her lines have a rhythm and subtle movement, her colours, a rich resonance, and her surfaces a texture that is complex and compelling. In a long and celebrated career, Broota has worked in several genres – from the early portraits, to woodcuts and etchings in the ’70s and ’80s, to the more recent oil and acrylic paintings, and ‘relief’ works where fabric, thread, silk, or wool – sometimes hand- knitted – is stretched across the canvas to create intricate grids and patterns.
Broota has exhibited extensively in India and abroad. Her works are in the national galleries in India and Malaysia, and in several private collections. She has participated in residencies in Kaula Lumpur and Perth, among other places, and was invited by the Guyanese government to paint the portrait of the country’s former president Chaddi Jagan. She was also awarded fellowships from the Government of India and Sahitya Kala Parishad, New Delhi. She is the co-author, along with the eminent art critic, the late Keshav Malik, of ‘Vesture of Being’, a book on her paintings.
The artist lives and works in New Delhi.