Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Today in Gay History

Bhupen Khakhar (1934-2003)

Contemporary Indian artist Bhupen Khakhar earned an international reputation for paintings that are explicitly homosexual in theme, but that also address universal human needs. They are rooted in traditional Indian art, but are startlingly original.

Although inspired by traditional Indian painting styles, Khakhar's visual language is completely original. Initially a painter of complex, finely detailed, brightly colored scenes of everyday life, he began painting works with blatant homosexual themes during the 1980s. This type of "coming out" was unprecedented in Indian culture; although many Indians are homosexuals, same-sex themes are exceedingly rare in modern Indian art.

Many of the figures in his works gaze into each other's eyes with mutual love, understanding, and desire. Although homosexual in theme, Khakhar's works address universal human needs such as physical closeness, interaction, and pleasure.

Khakhar died on August 8, 2003 in Baroda, India, aged 69.


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