Time and again ‘swarms of words’ have set out to define ‘art’! But they remain being just another ‘approximate’! 

-N S Harsha

b. 1969, in Karnataka, India


N. S. Harsha was born in 1969. He completed his BFA in painting from CAVA, Mysore, in 1992, and his MFA, also in painting, from the Faculty of Fine Arts, M. S. University, Baroda, 1995.


N.S. Harsha’s paintings, offer the artist’s witty and poetic, political and social responses to a variety of issues relating to global economics, the marketplace, and cultural heritage. The figurative and narrative paintings are woven out of the artist’s personal travel experiences, photographs and images culled from the media. Like a chronicler, often drawing from popular stories and local perceptions of international news events, Harsha depicts on his canvasses small town/city Indian life in our increasingly globalized times. His intricately detailed canvasses juxtapose seemingly disassociated images of scenes of small town and village India with those of more recognizably international ones. Harsha’s multi-layered narratives strongly suggest that the global is always already located within the local imagination.


Harsha creates in each of his acrylic on canvas paintings intimate spaces that bring to mind the basic format of early cinema or theatre halls usually found in small towns and villages. The narratives in Harsha’s satirical canvasses unfold against painted backdrops as his figures – the Queen of England, school children, the quintessential Indian farmer figure, Hindu mythological characters, or sages and clowns – juxtaposed against them act out complex scenes before us. Painting delicate banners into his paintings, Harsha cleverly plays with text and words. That Harsha’s imagery is influenced by popular street and poster art, and draws much from children’s text-book illustrations, Bazaar Art, and the forms found in handcrafted folk toys, is evident in the form and treatment of his flattened figures, skewed perspectives, and fine lines.


Harsha has worked site specifically, collaboratively and collectively in various situations. In his hometown in Mysore, having worked with the local children from a school on art projects. As part of one of the artists at the Asia Pacific Triennale in Queensland, worked collaboratively with local children from Brisbane within the gallery. In a Hindu Temple during the Singapore Biennale, he painted on the terrace of a Hindu Temple, reflecting the colours of the temple, depicting the temple workers in various positions of sleep.

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