Milburn Cherian is a graduate of the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, where she studied visual communication. She is an autodidactic painter, whose education in the visual arts comes from her intensive reading of aesthetics and art history, and her study of artists to whose work she found herself attracted, especially Brueghel, Hieronymus Bosch, Caspar David Friedrich and Dali.
Her paintings are sumptuous in their detail and populated by a large number of figures, charged with the energy of collective participation in a ritual or a sacred mystery. And while her paintings build into a phantasmagoria, she structures her works meticulously, holding all the events in her frames together within subtle and shifting grids of perspective. Sometimes, her paintings suggest the tapestry, the quilt or the stained-glass window –they carry the memories of several cultures, continents and traditions. The worlds of Biblical narrative, and of the mediaeval European world of the marketplace, the peasant festival and the Ship of Fools, come back to life in her art. Yet grimmer realities – the forced migration and resettlement of farmers who have lost their villages to dams and projects – also appear here. The artist delights in synaesthetic effects, reaching out to stimulate the visual sense as well as the sense of touch. Viewers are tempted to run their hands on the details in her paintings, whether diaphanous cloth or burnished metal, age-shadowed wood, or sleek leather. Cherian is attentive to the merging of periods and styles, especially when she invokes the sacred and secular furniture of the Estado da India and its vibrant Indo-Lusitanian culture of western India, generated through the encounter of India and Portugal. Milburn Cherian has held more than twenty exhibitions in India, Germany and the UK, including Mythical Realms, 2022; and Memento Mori, 2008 at Art Musings. Group Exhibitions with Art Musings include India Art Fair, 2022; If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller, 2019; The 20th, 2019. The artist lives and works in Mumbai.