Ram Kinkar Baij

(1906 – 1980)

Ramkinkar Baij was born in the year 1910, Bankura district in West Bengal. He studied at Kala Bhavan in Santiniketan in 1925, he was considered to be a truly ‘modern’ sculptor. As an artist, he believed that it is the only momentum that creates tension in a work of art; and his sculptures were monumental in scale and size, yet possessed an inner movement with vibrant earthly quality in material. His works are part of several private and public collections.

Ramkinkar disregarded the regular norms and artistic standards of the art practices and worked in a more spontaneous manner.
A brief introduction to clay modelling by a visiting French sculptor was enough for him to venture into a creative pursuit. He was groomed under mentors like Nandalal Bose, and Tagore. The lack of academic training resulted in unique, individualistic works and an innovative way of engaging with the medium. He was inspired by real-life figures, and his drawings, sculptures, and paintings reflected his bold realism and spontaneity as seen particularly in his sequence of watercolor nudes.
He integrated elements of Santhal tribal art and life into his own work and enhanced them by an understanding of Western expressionism that was gleaned from books at the library of the Kala Bhavan.

He was the earliest artist in Santiniketan to experiment with abstract, modern sculptural forms. He introduced cement concrete casting as an alternative to expensive plaster. Working at a time when traditional art was transitioning to modern art, Baij’s work proved to be crucial to Indian art history. Later, he headed the Department of Sculpture at the Kala Bhavana, Santiniketan.

The Government of India commissioned Baij to create two colossal sculptures at the Reserve Bank of India headquarters in Delhi in 1970. He Was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government Of India In 1970.

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