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    Shibu Natesan (b. 1966)

    Map Academy

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    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.


    Akzo Nobel Art Foundation. “Shibu Natesan.” Accessed July 7, 2021.

    Ghoshal, Somak. “Shibu Natesan | Stranger than Reality.” Mint Lounge, March 16, 2013.–Stranger-than-reality.html.

    Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation. “Shibu Natesan.” Accessed July 7, 2021.

    ML, Johny. “Wanderer Above the Mists of Our Times.” Critical Collective, 2013.

    Mohamed, Khalid. “Shibu Natesan: Doing It My Way.” The Daily Eye, July 3, 2020.

    Saffronart. “Shibu Natesan.” Accessed July 7, 2021.

    The Guild. “Shibu Natesan.”Accessed July 25, 2021.

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