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Himmat Shah

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1933, Lothal, Gujarat, India
Lives and works in New Delhi

Himmat Shah is one of the most acclaimed artists of India whose work encompasses both painting and sculptures. By experimenting and exploring the behaviour, texture, and appeal of materials, he creates his own methodology to demonstrate the realities of life. He is well known for his abstracted bronze and terracotta heads that are now considered his signature style.



Studied under S. W. Hayter and Krishna Reddy, Atelier 17, Paris


Worked under Professor N.S Bendre, Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda


Drawing Teacher's Course, Sir J. J. School of Art, Mumbai

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He narrates his path of work with imagination and experimentation

Shah's oeuvre is a testament of splendid creativity and representation of realities of life. Through his works he explores and internalizes the inherent obsolescence of consumerist society. His works, raw and bold, are created spontaneously yet with minutest detail. Shah devotes great attention to his technique - which he has developed and individualized with a lot of experimentation, along with concepts and ideas that illuminate from his imagination.

Himmat Shah, Kiss, 2006, bronze, 33.5 x 20.5 x 6.5"

He lets his material guide his hands

Himmat Shah believes that an artist's work is to release the spirit of the material. He uses his imagination to explore with materials and transform simple, everyday objects into a piece of art. His experiments help him understand the behaviour, texture and appeal of a material, thereby allowing him to develop a diverse type of methodology and philosophy in his creation.

Shah is known for his mixed media painting, sketches as well as his experiments with various materials such as terracotta, bricks, metal and plasters.

Himmat Shah, Untitled, 2006, bronze, 12.5 x 7 x 6"

The patterns in his sketches and paintings are spontaneous

Shah began his career with an initial training as a painter. His paintings in mixed media are an amalgamation of vibrant hues with bold brush strokes and alluring colours. He has an innate inclination for drawing, it being an inexpensive, transmuted and free form of expression which appealed to him in his negotiations with form and space. His earlier sketches, with chaotic black lines, are unpredictable and deeply ironic in the manner in which they use a simple medium to interpret complex contemporary depictions.

They are quite different in approach from his sculptures, in fact mere personal studies that give us a feel of how Shah exercises art in 2D, forming ideas spontaneously and later taking them to a different 3D form.

Himmat Shah, Untitled, ink on paper, 9.5 x 8"

His sculptures are the manifestations of his artistic genius

In 1960s, Himmat Shah designed and executed monumental murals in brick, cement and concrete. Since then he started working on relief and sculpture in plaster, terracotta, ceramics and other materials.

Acclaimed as a well known sculptor of India, Shah is recognized for his experiments with various materials in his works, especially in terracotta and bronze - that tend to explore materiality, texture and the various ways in which reality can be presented. His works are mostly devoid of titles, with patterns created spontaneously.

Himmat Shah, Untitled, bronze, 12 x 6 x 8.5"