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Modern & Contemporary Indian Art Modern & Contemporary Indian Art FRANCIS NEWTON SOUZA (1924 - 2002)
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Francis Newton Souza, often referred to as the 'enfant terrible' of modern Indian art was a painter and writer. He was known for his abhorrence towards customs and dogmas - shooting them down with his brush and pen. Noted art critic John Berger is said to have commented that ''Souza straddled many traditions but served none''. Souza's works reflect his idea of reality that could be broken down in order to accommodate one's needs and aspirations. His paintings express defiance and impatience with convention and the banality of everyday life. His thoughts came from his childhood which he spent in difficulty, both health wise and materialistically.
Souza received his formal art education from the Sir J.J. School of Arts, Bombay. In 1947 he became the main ideologue behind the Progressive Artists Group of Bombay, the formation of which, in many ways, set the stage for contemporary art in India. Stirred by the so-called plight of those whose voice was never heard, Souza had also entered politics by joining the Communist Party of India, from which he was subsequently expelled. As much as he was a rebel, it was also his articulateness that brought him into prominence. He is known to have written the introductions for many of his catalogues and had penned several articles and publications that dealt with diverse subjects.
Souza's art lies in his power to strengthen the eye's image of this world by distorting it, until it becomes merely the language by which his own mental images are expressed and the common ground on which we may come to terms with them.