In an attempt to keep our content accurate and representative of evolving scholarship, we invite you to give feedback on any information in this article.

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


    Anandajit Ray (b. 1965) 

    Map Academy

    Articles are written collaboratively by the EIA editors. More information on our team, their individual bios, and our approach to writing can be found on our About pages. We also welcome feedback and all articles include a bibliography (see below).

    An artist who works primarily in painting, Anandajit Ray experiments across materials, techniques and traditions through his work.

    Ray was born in Kolkata, West Bengal, and obtained a BFA and MFA from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda (now Vadodara) in 1989 and 1991 respectively. His visual repertoire consists of the fantastical and grotesque, transforming everyday objects into surreal images. Ray works mainly in watercolour and gouache, drawing from miniature painting traditions, with imagery derived from Surrealism and Dadaism, pop culture, science fiction and comic books. He draws inspiration from a wide range of artists, including the 15th century Netherlandish surrealist painter Hieronymous Bosch, as well as the naturalist style of artists such as the Mughal master Mansur, and George Stubbs. 

    Through an amalgamation of materials and techniques, Ray work is a reflection on the whimsy of contemporary life and experience. Floating limbs and bodies, as well as ordinary objects like shoes recur throughout his works, as in Mending Spills (2005), Light Step (2011) and U.T. (2011). Animals — transformed into surreal beasts and winged creatures — are presented in dark hues seen in works such as Basically Untitled/Keeping Mumm (2005), A Feeble Attempt to Try And Emulate A Moment Of Designer Happiness: Infatuation (2013), Residual Levity (2021) and Simulated Decoding: Trojan Horse (2021). The artist also incorporates the techniques of photo-collages and book art, seen in works like Use(r)less Manual (2019–20), which presents a multi-page false manual with a fantastical machine, and Kolkatar Kissu Hobe Na (Kolkata Is Doomed) (2018), a handmade book made of board and handmade paper, with illustrations rendered in ink, watercolour and paper collage.  

    In 1998, Ray illustrated a book of short stories in Bengali, titled Wildfire and Other Stories by the author Banaphool (Balaichand Mukhopadhyay). Ray received the Elizabeth Greenshields Study Grant in 1991 and the Sanskriti Award in 1999. His works have been exhibited in India and abroad, in solo as well as group shows. 

    As of writing, the artist lives and works in Vadodara. 


    Chawla, Noor Anand. “This Surrealist Art Exhibition Explores the Intersection Between Illusion and Reality.” Your Story Weekender, September 23, 2021. Accessed May 25, 2022.

    Das, Soumitra. “Real Reimagined.” The Telegraph, September 20, 2021. Accessed May 25, 2022.

    Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation. “Anandajit Ray.” Accessed May 25, 2022.

    Latitude 28. “Anandajit Ray.” Accessed May 25, 2022.

    Mehta, Anupa. “Razor’s Edge: Anandajit Ray.” In INDIA 20, 21–30. Mapin Publishing, 2013. 21–30. 

    Saffronart. “Anandajit Ray.” Accessed May 25, 2022.

    Related Content