In a career spanning over five decades, Anjolie Ela Menon’s work has a distinct amalgamation of western style with eastern subject influences. Her figures resemble early Christian iconography with a beautiful rendering of Indian themes.
As a figurative painter, her paintings have very distinctive features influenced by Byzantine and Romanesque paintings and murals that she encountered in the early years of her career. Concurrently, the influence of everyday life is also evident in her works as seen in the current picture. Here, she depicted an image of a young Brahmin man, possibly a Namboodri Brahmin priest from her husband’s native land of Kerala. The holy man was identifiable through the thread around his chest along with the ritualistic mark on his forehead.
She had frequently depicted them along with sadhus in her works from the 1990s onwards. A period of time when India was experiencing “religious turbulence over issues such as ‘the Mandir and the Masjid,’ she uses these “essentially Hindu devices to chant a compelling litany of both Ram and Rahim…”
Isana Murti, Anjolie Ela Menon, New Delhi, 1995, pg. 37
Auction Catalogue – South Asian Art – ‘Modern and Contemporary’ – March 12 -16, 2020