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Amit Ambalal

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1943, Ahmedabad
Lives and works in Ahmedabad, Gujrat, India

Amit Ambalal was a businessman, until he became a full-time painter in 1979. Trained under the guidance of veteran artist Chhaganlal Jhadav, he works in two distict styles - one has a contemporary approach to tradition and the other is the devotional Rajasthani Nathdwara paintings. Described as a satirist-painter, he comments on a prosperous society that is deeply rooted within a destitute culture infusing an element of humour in his creations. Most of his works are in watercolours.


Graduate in Arts, Commerce and Law

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His work can be categorized under two distinctive styles

Ambalal had no formal training in an art school, but under the guidance of the veteran artist Chhaganlal Jadhav Ambalal pursued this passion, engaginghis interest in the arts to a wide ground of historical research, documentation, and collection.

Ambalal's oeuvre can be divided into two categories. On one hand he creates devotional paintings in the historical Rajasthani Nathdwara tradition which he has been creating for the last 14 years now, and on the other hand he creates paintings that have a contemporary approach to religious tradition. Part of his works portays human drama.

Amit Ambalal, Lonely Planet, 2008, silk screen on paper, 45 x 60"

He uses his work to critique the flaws in today's society

Described as a satirist-painter, Ambalal comments on a society that is rooted within a destitute culture, immersed in consumption and irrational actions. He reflects on the quirks of human behaviour, developing parody, caricature and mimicry into visual typification. His work, be it historical or contemporary, express  and mock the irony in the mundane around him and . Hypiocrisy doesn't bother him, says Ambalal. Instead he prefers to splash it on canvas and mock the world, infusing an element of humour in his creations.

However, it is often noticed that his works are not depressing or somber, rather it's the colour, form, design and texture that gives his paintings the light and easy mood.

Amit Ambalal, Cow, acrylic on canvas board, 17.5 x 23.5"

Ambalal is fond of watercolours

Ambalal has worked with a variety of mediums such as oils on canvas, charcoal, mixed media and experimented with a few sculptures in clay and bronze, but a large part of his work is in watercolours. This explains his fondness for the medium. "Watercolours have a knack of telling you when the painting is complete, apart from its luminosity and transparency which is not seen in other mediums", he states. Working with pure colours, he lets them mingle on the paper in place of his colour palette.

Amit Ambalal, Jal Krida, gouache on paper, 28.5 x 19.5"

His imagery is filled with human and animal protagonists

While on one hand his work is often autobiographical where he, his wife and their dog becomes a part of his narrative on the canvas. The gestures, body and the faces of his figures are seen in a rather loose manner, seemingly enjoying a rare freedom from the formal academic training. On the other hand, a lot of animals have made a frisky entry into his redefined oeuvre. Characters like the monkey, goats, tiger, peacocks and the holy cow (sacred to the Hindus), are highly used in his imagery to assess critically the situations he sees around him. These works reflects his sense of humour and his love for animals.

Amit Ambalal, Top Secret, gouache on paper, 19.5 x 28.5"