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.


    Shibu Natesan

    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).

    Contemporary artist known for his surreal figurative paintings, Shibu Natesan creates work that is characterised by a vibrant colour palette and subject matter derived from popular culture and media, as well as Latin American cinema and Expressionist works.

    Born in Vakkom, Thiruvananthapuram, Natesan graduated in painting from the College of Fine Arts, Thiruvananthapuram, in 1987. In 1989, he enrolled for a post-graduation in printmaking at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, where he came into contact with and was inspired by the narrative style of Bhupen Khakhar. He was awarded a residency at the Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam (1996–97), where he was introduced to the works of European artists such as Leon Spilliaert, Gerhard Richter, Friedrich Casper and David Hockney. Consequently, he created a series of photo-realistic figurative paintings titled Missing.

    Most of Natesan’s works are characterised by bright colours and minimal detail. Natesan’s early work was a critical response to political turmoil. In these paintings, he used metallic paint, glossy pictures and photographs of historical sites such as the Ajanta Caves as visual metaphors to portray issues such as racism, power structures in society, migration and rampant industrialisation. His more recent works are primarily landscapes and still lifes that feature limited figurative compositions.

    His works have been shown at exhibitions in India and abroad, including at the Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai (1995, 2005); Jack Shainman Gallery, New York (2007); Grosvenor Vadehra, London (2009); and Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi (2013).

    At the time of writing, Natesan lives and works between London and Vadodara.



    Our website is currently undergoing maintenance and re-design, due to which we have had to take down some of our bibliographies. While these will be re-published shortly, you can request references for specific articles by writing to

    Related Content