Raghav Kaneria (b. 1936)
Sculptor and a member of Group 1890, Raghav Kaneria is known for his abstract sculptures and assemblages created by welding industrial junk and metal sheets.
Kaneria was born in Saurashtra, Gujarat, and was influenced early by his mother’s detailed drawings for her embroidery. He joined the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU), Baroda (now Vadodara), in 1955, where he came in contact with Jyoti Bhatt, who advanced his interest in drawing. In 1962, Kaneria began working at the Mukand Iron and Steel Factory, Bombay (now Mumbai), where he experimented with large-scale metal scrap. The same year, he joined Group 1890, becoming the only sculptor in the twelve-member collective; Kaneria had the largest number of exhibits on display at the Group’s exhibition at Rabindra Bhavan, New Delhi, in October 1963. In 1964, he was awarded a Commonwealth scholarship to study at the Royal College of Art, London. He also taught sculpture at the Walthamstow School of Art, London, between 1967 and 1969. In 1969, Kaneria joined the Faculty of Fine Arts, MSU, as a Reader and began teaching sculpture at the institute; he was also an active participant in the Fine Arts Faculty Fairs. In 1972, he was awarded the Foreign Visiting Artist Fellowship and began teaching sculpture at Hull College of Art.
Kaneria uses unconventional materials and found objects such as wood, metal, scrap iron and nails to create abstract sculptures in an attempt to break away from existing meanings of form, Drawing inspiration from village life and rituals, he is known for his depiction of animals in bronze, as in the Bull series (1959) and Jumping Calf (1978). He also began photo-documenting the rural and indigenous traditions and customs of western India with Jyoti Bhatt. In 1982, his black-and-white photographs were shown at an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, with the works of six other artists, including Pablo Bartholomew, Mitter Bedi, Jyoti Bhatt, TS Nagarajan, Foy Nissen and Dasharath Patel.
He has also exhibited at the Fukuoka Art Museum (1979); Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (1980); Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai (1983); Pushkin Museum, Moscow (1987); and the Delhi Art Gallery (2015, 2016). He received the National Award from the Lalit Kala Akademi in 1963, the Silver Medal from the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (1961) and the Gold Medal from Bombay Arts Society (1961).
At the time of writing, Kaneria lives and works in Vadodara.
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