Ram Kumar, like many of his confreres among the first generation of post-colonial Indian artists, including F N Souza, M F Husain, S H Raza and Akbar Padamsee, combined an internationalist desire with the need to belong emphatically to their homeland. This need prompted an interest in the construction of a viable ‘Indian’ aesthetic that bore a dynamic relationship to an Indian identity. With Ram Kumar, this quest for an indigenist tenor has not meant a superficial inventory of ‘native’ motifs offered as evidence of a static and essentialist Indian identity. Instead he demonstrates that a painter can enact the innermost dramas of his culture while maintaining the individuality of his performance. Ram Kumar’s art, which has proceeded through an alternation of joyous expressivity and brooding reticence, plays out a crucial polarity of emphasis in the context of Indic culture: that between samsara, the sensual participation in the world of events, and nirvana, the ascetic blowing-out of desire. Ram Kumar’s work can be found in important collections all over the world. The artist lives and works in New Delhi.