About the Artist

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Born in 1974, Rajasthan.  

Madan Meena pays particular attention to Rajasthan’s socio-cultural issues. His actual artistic production is characterized by refined, almost minimal & classy works. Expressing the complex labyrinth of emotions in simple forms is something Madan has learned from the traditional art form of the Meena tribe, which always has been his source of inspiration. Probably the abstraction and expression of complex ideas in simple forms of folk art and their range are the source for Madan's inclination towards abstraction. His works always have a deep and close association with nature, now this association is reaching to new heights of abstraction. The elements of nature in his previous works have now reached to such an amalgamation with the sight that creates deeper sense of magnificence. It has tranquility, optimism and lull, which holds you spellbound & mesmerized.

Sublimity Encircled

I have known Madan Meena and his works for more than a decade. I first came across his
works at his solo exhibition in Mumbai. There was a wall, covered completely with small format abstractions of lotuses. I remember being immediately swayed by his use of light and color intonation. It instantly reminded me of Monet.
Having followed his work ever since, I have seen it evolve resolutely, with a quiet beauty and an embodiment of the sublime.
Madan works in his native Kota in Rajasthan, where he has been involved in research projects on painting by women of the Meena tribe.  He has a PhD on the subject, for which he traveled extensively through rural Rajasthan. It is the desert landscape, natural phenomena and folklore that find themselves in his works.
A large part of this body of works is titled ‘Life Circles’. The motif repeats itself in various forms, sometimes delicate as in the watercolor works and sometimes bold, as in the canvas works. In his works the circle has multiple references, meanings and interpretations. They could be the solar and lunar cycles or the cycle of creation.
The long panel composed of Blue and Black circles is much like a quiet desert night with the Blue moon(s) suspended in the upper half. Only, it is deceptively simple. The Black circles on Black ground seem to be referring to the shadows of the moon, visible only to the deliberate gaze. The myriad forms of the Blue circles seem to then be the various faces of the moon in orbit.
A similar work is one with the top half of the canvas that has white circles with a terrain sort of texture in them. The bottom half is made up of Blue circles on Blue ground, one of which has a White ring around it. Yet another similar work is one in Blue, where again, the top half is tightly composed of detailed texture filled circles, interspersed with solid color dots. The textured circles may be construed to have their origins in digital or electronic media. The bottom of the painting is a solid Blue with a grayish-white ring on it.
What is interesting about Madan’s work is that the exploration of the form of the circle as an important and potent symbol seems inexhaustible. As any artist would acknowledge, there comes a time when you think you have exhausted all the possibilities of a single form and just when you think this is the case in Madan’s work, he reveals a new one! And it is individual…unlike the excessive dotty indulgences of Yayoi Kusama or the deadpan dots by Damien Hirst.
It is indeed difficult for the artist to walk the razor’s edge between inspiration from contemporaries and the individual worldview. Tipping slightly one way would mean either being derivative or having nothing new to say. Madan seems to have found something new to say and in a very individual way, using the same symbol that generations of artists have used before him– the circle.
The circle then, in Madan’s work is the atom and the polka dot. It is playful and sublime. It is bound to its time and within the histories of the Meena women of Rajasthan and yet contemporary in its bold and in-your-face minimalism. It is the star in the night sky, the glistening spec in the sand, multiple moons, the nucleus in the atom and the ring of the constant and cyclical motion of life.
The precise placements of the circles on the ground mimic the patterns and rhythms of nature. Repetition holds a significant place and meaning in the Indian arts, be it music, performance or visual art. The circle is to visual art, what mantra is to sound.
In Madan’s work, the circle seems capable of playing a very wide range of music!
The works display a refined aesthetic sensibility and emotive use of color, which can be subtle, articulate and bold all at the same time. The Reds, Blacks and earthy shades are very much the palette of Rajasthan as seen in their traditional clothing and textiles. The dot is then the form of the Bindi, the mirror work and the Tie-and-Dye.
Many of the works are composed of patterns. Some from the embroidered shoes (Mojris). Others may well be grains of sand, painstakingly created by brush-tip, making tiny dots of paint on paper.
The watercolor paintings on paper follow a more intuitive process, whereby control over the composition is only partially exercised by the artist in the precision of the circles and dots. How the color textures itself is determined by the consistency of the paint and the quantity of water used with it. Wherever there is more water used, it tends to warp or dent the paper, which creates a sort of dimension for the eye.
A particularly strong work in this series is the one with silver dots and colored circles around them. It is quiet and playful at the same time without being light-hearted. Another strong work is the one with the black dots and a single pink one with a yellow center. The key here is the contrast, not only between the ground and the dots but also in the pink and the black dots. Another significant one is the one with white circles on white ground, with tiny colored dots in the centers. What is significant here is the orchestration of color, the carefulness with which certain white circles are chosen to be dotted in the center and others are left out, the deliberation with which the colors of the centers are chosen, considering the colors of the centers of the circles around them. This is what makes a work with solid colors and without the watery emotive gradation of color, poetic.
Several other works are made up of minute colored dots creating a fine texture. This uniformity is systematically highlighted with dots of contrasting color. The overall feel is that of extending the artwork beyond the confines of the paper. The subliminal influences here may be the vast desert sands or the infinite starry sky above it. A oneness with nature is very much a part of those living in the region.
A particularly interesting work is the one with the pinkish red dotted texture in the background, overlaid with the white cloud forms. Here again is the seeming dichotomy of the traditional with the contemporary, the conventional with the pop.
The overall feel of the works in the series tend to carry this through – a delicate balance and congruous harmony between what is seen as disparate or dichotomous.
And it is this that is the achievement of Madan’s oeuvre. And may well have been inspired by nature.
There are other works with the Mojri textures, interspersed with fine dots that are often visible only on closer view. In the work with the blue palette, the granite – textured ground is interspersed with blue dots at regular intervals. This rhythm is broken with the delightful surprise of lighter blue dots on the top right corner. It is almost like teasing the eye! A similar work is the one with the textured ground and dark and white dots that does the same thing in a more muted manner.
 Other similar works on rough paper surfaces are the ones with the urns made up of the same Mojri texture. These seem markedly different from the rest of the works…the only thing binding them being the Mojri texture.
Madan’s work has a significant thing to say albeit in a quiet voice. In the clamor and spectacle that the ‘Indian Contemporary Art World’ has become, it may seem inaudible at first, but it is just a matter of finding those that are attuned to listening and those that can appreciate this genre of music!
In a time when the race is on for the next biennale and the next art fair and artworks are composed more of formulae than feeling, here is work that is refreshing for standing its ground and evolving in its own direction and at its own pace. It is universal or global (to use an over-used term!) and local in its aesthetic. Ironically, unlike the wanna-be-global artist, it trumpets no such claim.
When we begin to seriously consider what is significant within the context of contemporary Indian art practice today, stepping off the whirlwind of events and looking at if and how it is maturing, we need to look towards Madan Meena’s work. It is relevant, has a refreshing voice and is rooted in its time and place of origin.
Jenny Bhatt
Pune based Artist and writer



Madan Meena’s inner eye skilfully directs him to the reality pre-existing in time. In these works we observe the essence of an imaginative vision, which gives a strongly objective feel to his compositions.

The act of deep empathy is a painter’s passport to the understanding of form, without which authentic art is not possible. To paint a circle one must almost become a circle. However, there is nothing original in this observation. Good artists practise this act by instinct.

Madan appears to realize such a basic truth. In his works there is a genuine affection, as also a highly sensitised tuning to the essential innocence of the world. Lastly one thing: this present work has been done with sufficient grace to convince us of the artist’s true life-aim – an art that transcends mere craft. Madan’s spirit, on all evidence, is spotless.
Keshav Malik

Present Position

Honorary Director of the Adivasi Academy at Tejgadh, Gujarat.

Art Education & Scholarships

2006     Ph.D. on the subject 'Art of Meena Tribe' at Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur. 
2000,03  Research Fellowship (NET), University Grants Commission, New Delhi.
1999     M.A. in Painting (University Gold Medal) Government College, Kota. 
1998,99  Granted Students Scholarship by Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy, Jaipur.
1998     Indian Art & Culture Certificate Course, N.M.I., National Museum, New Delhi.       
1997     Fresco & Mural Painting Certificate Course, Banasthali University, Rajasthan. 

Solo Exhibitions

2017    Triveni Gallery, New Delhi
2016    ‘FRAGRANCE OF ABSTRACTION’ at Gallery Artchill, Amber Fort, Jaipur.
2015    'Kanta Laga' at Triveni Art Gallery, New Delhi. 
2012    Gallery Artchill, Amber Palace, Jaipur
2012    ’Sublimity Encircled’  at Juneja Art Gallery, Jaipur
2012    Art Corridor , Le Meridien Jaipur organized by Gallery Artchill.
2011    Juneja Art Gallery, Jaipur.
2010    Juneja Art Gallery, Jaipur.
2009    Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai.
2008    Gallery Artchill, Amber Palace, Jaipur.
2007    ‘Monsoon Dreams’ Juneja Art Gallery, Jaipur.
2002    Triveni Gallery, Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi. 
2001    Taj Art Gallery, Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai 
1999    Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Calcutta.
1999    Ravishankar Raval Kala Bhavan, Ahmedabad. 
1998    Rabindra Bhawan, Lalit Kala Academy, New Delhi.

2018      MarwarRatna by Mehrangarh Fort Trust-Jodhpur for work in Folklore studies 
2000      Annual All India Award, AIFACS, New Delhi. 
2000      State Award, Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy, Jaipur.
1999      South Central Zone Cultural Centre, Nagpur.
1999      Himachal State Museum, Shimla.
1998      Students Exhibition, Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy, Jaipur.
1998      AVANTIKA, New Delhi.
1998      Awarded at Rajasthan Kala Mela by Central Lalit Kala Academy, organized by Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy, Jaipur.


2017-19        Senior Research Fellowship, CCRT, Department of Culture, Govt. of India.
2011-14        Research Fellowship from Firebird Foundation for Anthropological Research, USA.
2010        Research Grant from CRASSH, University of Cambridge, UK.


2003    Contemporary Art of Rajasthan organized by Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy, Jawahar Kala Kendra and North Zone Cultural Centre at Patiala & Chandigarh.
2001    Contemporary Art of Rajasthan organized by Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy at Lucknow, Goa & Kota.
2000,01        Indian Academy of Fine Arts, Amritsar.
2000    West Bengal State Academy, Calcutta.
2000    The Bombay Art Society, Mumbai.
2000    Millenium Exhibition, Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Calcutta.
1999    Annual Art Exhibition, Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy, Jaipur.
1998, 99    Kala Mela organized by Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy, Jaipur. 
1998    All India Exhibition (Drawing), AIFACS, New Delhi. 
1998    All India Exhibition of Drawing, Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy, Jaipur.
1997    All India Art Biennial of Rajasthan, Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy, Jaipur.

Camps & Workshops   

2012            Artists Camp at Bharatpur, organized by Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy, Jaipur.
2011            All India Artists Camp, organized by Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur.
2010            Artists camp at Ummed Bagh Resort, Bundi.
2009            Young Painters Camp, Neerja Modi School, Jaipur.
2009            Artist Camp organized by Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy-Jaipur.
2005            Contemporary Painting Workshop organized by North-East Zone Cultural Centre-Dimapur at Naharlagun (Arunachal Pradesh).
2004            Publication Design Workshop organized by Seagulls Publication at Kolkata in association with ARCE-American Institute of Indian Studies, New Delhi.
2002            Painters' Camp organized by Rashtriya Lalit Kala Kendra-Lucknow at Jhansi.
2002            Young Artists' Camp organized by AIFACS, New Delhi.
1999, 2001      Art Awareness Camp at Kota.
1998            National Students Camp organized by Bareilly College, U.P.
1997            Zonal Contemporary Painters Camp organized by West Zone Cultural Centre-Udaipur at Daman.

Group Exhibitions

2019    'Inner voices - outer masks' Group show at Gallery Artchill, Amer Fort, Jaipur.
2018    ‘ART IDIOMS - STRAY & MOULDED' Group Show at Juneja Art Gallery, Jaipur. 
2016    Group Show at Gallery Artchill, Amber Fort, Jaipur.
2015    ‘Art Walk’ Feb- March at Juneja Art Gallery, Jaipur.
2014    'Treasures of Rajasthan Season II' at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi
2014    All India Exhibition at Jaipur Art Summit,  Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur
2014    'India - The Revealed Mysteries' in Conjunction with Venice Biennale 2014, Venice , curated by Sandro Orlandi , co curated by Sangeeta Juneja.
2013    Jaipur Art Summit 2013
2013   'Confluence des Arts’ a group show of 100 artists at Gallery Artchill, Amber Fort, Jaipur. 
2013    Gallery Hacienda, Mumbai.
2012    ’Sublimity Encircled’ by Madan Meena at Juneja Art Gallery, Jaipur.
2011    THE DESERT SYMPHONY – Colors of Rajasthan, Dhoomimal City Gallery, New Delhi.
2009    Group Show at CRIMSON-The Art Resource, Bangalore.
2008    Group Show at Gallery Artchill, Amer fort, Jaipur.
2005    Group exhibition by Bougainvillea Gallery at Udai Villas, Udaipur.
2004    Ravishankar Rawal Kala Bhawan, Ahmadabad & Art Gallery, Kota.
2003   'RECONNOITRE' organized by Gallery Space, Hyderabad.
2003    Group exhibition organized at Bangalore and  Chennai by Laxshana Art Gallery.
2003    'WE' at Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur & Art Gallery, Kota.
2001    Group show 'Spectre' at Srishti Art Gallery, Welcome group Rajputana Palace Sheraton and Gaurav Towers, Jaipur.
2001    Krishna's Collection Art Gallery, New Delhi. 
2000    Gallery Ganesha, New Delhi. 
2000    Group show 'Expressions', at Jawahar Kala Kendra-Jaipur, Kota, Bundi & Gadepan.
1998    Two-men show at Contemporary Art Gallery, Ahmedabad. 


2014       Exhibition of Meena women paintings at Grafton Regional Gallery, NSW, Australia.
2013       Exhibition of Meena women paintings at Gallery Artisan, Brisbane, Australia.
2013       Member of General Council, Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy, Jaipur.
2010-11    Associate Director of the film ‘Jharu Katha-Broom Stories’. The film was supported by Ford Foundation, US.
2010       Attended workshop on, ‘Archiving Orality and Connecting with Communities: World Oral Literature Project 2010 Workshop,’ organized by CRASSH, University of Cambridge, UK.
2008-09    Designed exhibition on Brooms for ‘Arna-Jharna: The Desert Museum of Rajasthan’ of Rupayan Sansthan, Jodhpur. 
2009       Curated exhibition of Meena women wall paintings along with Tara Books on launch of ‘Nurturing Walls’ book at Jaipur Literature Festival.
2006-07    'Creative expressions of the Meena women' exhibitions of collection and research work on Meena tribe organized at: National Centre for the Performing Arts-Mumbai. Bharat Bhawan-Bhopal Hutheesingh Visual Art Centre-Ahmadabad Karnataka Chitra Kala Parishad and Gallery Time & Space-Bangalore
2004       Invited as resource person for making of documentary film 'Creativity of Meena Women' by Educational Media Research Centre, Jai Narain Vyas University, Jodhpur.
2002       Creativity of Meena Women' exhibition of collection and research work on Meena Women at India International Centre, New Delhi.

Research Projects

2017-19    Documentation and preparation of manuscripts of Tejaji Ballad sung in Marwar region of Rajasthan.
2015    Conducted survey on crafts traditions among craft communities of Barmer, Rajasthan. The project was funded by IL&FS & PDCOR.
2013-14   State Coordinator for Educational Survey on Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-nomadic Tribes in Rajasthan. The project is funded by Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi.
2013      Coordinator for Tejaji Gatha documented for All India Radio, Kota.
2010      Documentation and publication of book and audio DVDs on Tejaji Ballad sung in Hadoti region of South-Eastern Rajasthan.
2006      Genealogical study of Jaga community residing in Eastern Rajasthan. This was to study the system of keeping written records of family lineages. The project was funded by Department of Culture, Government of India.
2007      Documentation on Folk Epic of Devnarain sung in Eastern Rajasthan. The project was supported by Geeta Sarabhai, Sangeet Kendra, Ahmadabad.


1.    The Languages of Rajasthan - People’s Linguistic Survey of India, Volume Editor, Orient Blackswan (2016), ISBN- 978-81-250-6397-1
2.    Bharatiya Bhasha Lok Sarvekshan - Rajasthan Ki Bhashayen, Volume Editor, Orient Blackswan (2014), ISBN- 978-81-250-5466-5
3.    Tejaji Gatha(Tejaji Ballad), published under the World Oral Literature Project of Cambridge University (2012), ISBN- 978-81-8466-888-2
4.    Nurturing Walls-Animal Art by Meena Women, book on Meena women wall paintings published by Tara Books, Chennai (2009), ISBN- 978-81-8621-168-7
5.    Joy of Creativity, based on the motifs of Meena women wall paintings (self published), 2007.


Jharu-Katha: Broom Stories (2012) – Served as an Associate Director. The film is about the broom and broom-making communities of Rajasthan, their migration in search of raw material and market, health hazards involved in the profession, ecological issues related to the raw material, broom trade, its economy; myths, beliefs and rituals related to the broom in social context, and broom as offering to the god & goddess. The film covers the diverse aspects of broom from its being as tool of suppression on one side and symbol of dignity and pride on the other side. The film also brings into focus the Dalit and issues related to the garbage disposal. The film was funded by Ford Foundation.  

Audio DVDs
Published seven audio DVDs featuring different singing traditions of the Tejaji Ballad, Mataji-ke-jas and Jogi songs. 

Academic Engagements

Teaches as visiting faculty at the Indian Institute of Crafts and Design (IICD)-Jaipur and National institute of Design (NID)-Kurukshetra.