The son of a renowned pre-independence
artist, Karmakar like many of his generation experienced
the political and social turbulence of India’s
struggle for freedom. But there was a difference in the
way he metamorphosed these experiences into art. In his
attempt to escape the nightmares, the artist transmuted
reality into a compellingly distorted surrealist world
in which his subjects of fantasy – whether landscapes,
figures or still life objects - assume a reality and
mobility of their own.
His landscapes of rural Bengal, defined in his own
inimitable style, emanate from the serenely evocative
lyricism of an essentially poetic imagination. His
female nudes are as full-bodied and luscious as his
landscapes, and though at times his images are overtly
sexual, they still retain for the most part, the same
quality of pure romance as his landscapes.
At the same time his works are never divorced from
reality. The artist in Karmakar tries to liberate himself
from conventional form to express his personal vision
of the ‘essence’ he perceives, whether
in his landscapes, or more frequently and with compelling
power in his depictions of figures, whether horse,
human or bird.
Nor has Karmakar limited himself to poetry. Some of
his paintings are social commentaries on issues such
as power balances and the repression of the poor. And
the massive dislocation and migration of people to
Kolkata during Partition is depicted in his Refugees
with remarkable incisiveness.
About the Artist
Born: 1933 Kolkata
Art Education: 1950-57 His first artistic apprenticeship
was with Dilip Das Gupta in his studio; 1953 Govt.
College of Arts & Crafts Kolkata, but he was unable
to complete his education due to family circumstances;
1964-65 Worked in Nirode Mazumdar’s studio, Calcutta.
Selected Exhibitions and Participation
1949 Drawings, Gallerie 88, Calcutta
1953 Solo exhb. at Gandhara Art Gallery, Calcutta.
1954,55,57,60,63,64,67,69, 99,74,77,83 One-man shows
1956,58 Exhb. with Studio Group, Calcutta.
1959 First one-man show on Pavement (First of its kind
in India), Calcutta.
1959,61,63,64,65,66,69,70 Participated at Lalit Kala
Akademi, New Delhi.
1959,62,64 Exhb. organized by Banga Sanskrit Sammelan,
Bombay and Calcutta.
1960 Participated in Mahajati Sadan, Calcutta.
1961 Exhibited with the Society of Contemporary Artist,
1962,64,76 Exhb. at AIFACS, New Delhi.
1963,65,70,71,72,73,74,75,85 Exhb. with the Calcutta
1964 Eight Painters from Calcutta, AIFACS Gallery,
1968 Solo exhb. in Paris.
1968 Solo show in Switzerland, West Germany, Holland.
1969,71 Solo exhb. in New Delhi.
1969 Group exhb. in Santiniketan.
1970 Exhb. in Switzerland, West Germany, U.K.
1971 Invited to participate in Triennale, organized
by Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi.
1971 Invited to participate in XI Sao Paulo Biennale
through Lalit Kala Akademi.
1971,76 Participated in Lalit Kala Akademi Exhb., Lucknow.
1972,75,77 Exhb. with Calcutta Painters, Bombay.
1972,74 Exhb. with Calcutta Painters, New Delhi.
1976,81 Invited to exhibit drawing by U.P. State Lalit
Kala Akademi, Lucknow.
1976 Annual show, Maha Koshla Kala Parishad, Raipur.
1976 Group show, AIFACS, New Delhi.
1978 Solo exhb., Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi.
1978,87 Invited to Exhibit in Bombay through 'Dialouge'.
1984 Exhb. with Bijan Chowdhury in Triveni Kala Sangam,
1985 Commonwealth Art Exhb., London.
1986 Sengunda Biennale Da La Habana, Cuba.
1988 Biennale Dhaka, Bangladesh.
1989 'After Eighteen Years Prokash Karmakar again',
Gallery BF 14, Calcutta.
1989 Participated in Calcutta Painters 25th Aniversary
Show in Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Calcutta.
1989 Invited to participate in the exhb. of 'Calcutta
Three Hundred' in Birla Academy of Art and Culture,
1989 Invited to participate in 'Human Rights' exhb.,
sponsored by Alliance Francaise de Calcutta and Birla
Academy of Art & Culture Kolkata
1991 Solo Exhb. of drawing, Gallerie 88, Calcutta.
1991 Invited to participate 5th Anniversary show of
Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Calcutta.
1992 One man show of paintings, Gandhara Art Gallery,
1992 Invited to participate in Confluence Art Camp,
organized by Alliance France Francaise de Calcutta.
1992 Invited to participate in the Silver Jubilee,
Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Calcutta.
1993 Participated in Artist Camp 'Gangotsav', organized
by West Bengal Tourism Development Corp.
1993 Participated in Artist Camp for '21 February'
in Bangladesh Mission, organized by Bangladesh High
1994 Participated in Contemporary Miniatures Show organized
by CIMA Art Gallery, Calcutta.
Participated in group exhb. organized by L.T.G Gallery,
1995 Autumn Exhb. by CIMA Art Gallery, Calcutta.
1995 Participated in 'Reflections', Gallerie 88, Calcutta.
1996 Participated in 5th All India Veteran Artist Exhb.,
organized by AIFACS, New Delhi.
1996 Participated in Summer Show organized by CIMA
Art Gallery, Calcutta.
1996 Participated in an exhb., L.T.G. Gallery, New
He has received more than ten prestigious awards between
1957 and 1999 including the Lalit Kala Akademi National
Award in 1968, the Academy Fellowship in 1968 to study
Master Painter’s creations in Paris, a 3-yr.
Scholarship from the French Government, and the Abanindra
Puraskar Award in 1999.
Founder Member of Society of Contemporary Artists
Kolkata, 1961 and of the Calcutta Painters group Kolkata