Kalighat painting developed in the vicinity of the Kali temple in Kolkata, India, in the mid-nineteenth century. The paintings were completed on mill-made paper, stripped of decoration and traditionally feature only one or two characters. Kalighat paintings were some of the first to incorporate secular themes, while also showing satirical depictions of the growing European influence on Kolkata. This beautiful book reveals the Kalighat (literally 'home of Kali') paintings from the V&A's extensive collection and includes work from the prestigious Victoria Memorial Hall in Kolkata. Striking new photography accompanies essays from leading experts on the craft and a scientific analysis of the pigments and materials used in the paintings. The book also highlights the work of contemporary artists who are creating Kalighat paintings with a modern twist, based on and inspired by the work of nineteenth-century artists.
Suhashini Sinha is Assistant Curator in the Asian Department at the V&A. She is the co-curator for the touring exhibition Kalighat Paintings (2011).