Roy was born in Bengal in 1887 into a middle-class family of land-owners.
When he was sixteen he was sent to study at the Government School
of Art in Calcutta. He was taught to paint in the prevailing academic
tradition drawing Classical nudes and painting in oils and in 1908
he received his Diploma in Fine Art. However, he soon realised that
he needed to draw inspiration, not from Western traditions, but
from his own culture, and so he looked to the living folk and tribal
art for inspiration.
was most influenced by the Kaiighat Pat, with its bold sweeping
brush-strokes. He moved away from his earlier impressionist landscapes
and portraits and between 1921 and 1924 began his first period
of experimentation with the Santhal dance as his starting point.
His new style was both a reaction against the Bengal School and
the Western tradition. His underlying quest was threefold to capture
the essence of simplicity embodied in the life of the folk people;
to make art accessible to a wider section of people; and to give
Indian art its own identity. He was awarded the Padma Bhusan in
1955. His work has been exhibited extensively in international
exhibitions and can be found in many private and public collections
such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. He spent most
of his life living and working in Calcutta. Jamini Roy died in
with a Hukka