F.N. Souza was a founder member of the Progressive Artists’ Group (PAG), largely responsible for shaping the Modern art movement in India. He went on to become a celebrated sensation in Europe, following exhibitions in London in the 1950s.
He was influenced by the traditional temple sculptures of India and he imbibed European artistic perspectives of Modern painters and Old Masters. Souza was bitterly critical of the Catholic Church and the hypocrisy of its clergy. He sought to disturb accepted notions of aesthetics and jolt stereotypical perceptions about religion, sin, sensuality and the supposedly benevolent political order. His artistic talents, whether in oil painting, writing or line drawing, remain utterly compelling.
Posthumously, his work has achieved further critical acclaim, and is avidly sought after in India, UK and the USA. The Tate Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum of London, own several of his works and have exhibited them from time to time. The renowned Indian painter late M.F. Husain paid a tribute by stating, “Souza was my mentor… he is the most significant painter, almost a genius."
About the Author
Aziz Kurtha is a practicing commercial lawyer who writes on and collects contemporary art from the Indian sub-continent. He has co-authored with Balraj Khanna, Art of Modern India published in 1998. He has organized a number of exhibitions for major artists, including F.N. Souza, as early as the 1970s. He received his doctorate from the London School of Economics and works out of Dubai and London.