Prof. Raman Siva Kumar

  • Raman Siva Kumar (born 3 December 1956), well known as R. Siva Kumar, is an internationally noted contemporary Indian art historian, art critic, and curator. R. Siva Kumar’s major research has been in the area of early Indian modernism with a special focus on the Santiniketan School. He has written several important books, lectured widely on modern Indian art, and contributed articles to prestigious international projects such as the Art Journal, Grove Art Online or The Dictionary of Art, Oxford University Press.

    R. Siva Kumar was born in Kerala. After completing his early education in Pune and Kerala he moved to Santiniketan, where he joined Kala Bhavan and completed his MFA in history of art. and Since 1981, Professor Siva Kumar, who is often considered to be “the most erudite and self-effacing art historian” of his time, has been teaching art history at Kala Bhavana, where he has held several offices, including that of the Principal.

    He was awarded the Kesari puraskaram for art writing by the Lalit Kala Akademi, Kerala in 2010. He served as a curatorial adviser for “Rhythms of India: The Art of Nandalal Bose”, curated by Sonia Rhie Quintanilla for the San Diego Museum of Art, USA. He also has co-curated an exhibition titled “Tryst with Destiny” for the Singapore Art Museum to mark the 50 years of Indian Independence.  His writings on Abanindranath Tagore and the Santiniketan artists have contributed a new perspective on them by shifting the critical focus from nationalist revivalism to context-sensitive modernism. Among his curated exhibitions “Santiniketan: The Making of a Contextual Modernism” commissioned to mark the fifty years of Indian independence, “Benodebehari: A Centenary Retrospective” (co-curated with Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh) and “The Last Harvest: Paintings of Rabindranath Tagore”, commissioned to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore are considered landmark exhibitions. The reputed Indian Magazine, Frontline reported, “The best show was the one (celebrating 50 years of Indian Independence) curated by R. Siva Kumar of Santiniketan, ‘The Making of a Contextual Modernism’, exhibiting about a hundred works each of Nandalal Bose, Rabindranath Tagore, Ram Kinker Baij and Benode Behari Mukherjee”. While “The Last Harvest: Paintings of Rabindranath Tagore”, was shown at ten major museums of the world including the Museum of Asian Art, Berlin; Asia Society, New York; National Museum of Korea, Seoul; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; Petit Palais, Paris; National Gallery of Modern Art, Rome; National Visual Arts Gallery, Kuala Lumpur; McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Ontario; and National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi. In 2013, he was awarded by the Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi for his book “Ram Kinkar Baij – A Retrospective”. R. Siva Kumar has also received a special award from the University of Dhaka for his contribution to the Indian art scene.