Kanwal Krishna often depicted fractured landscapes and hillsides, as in Shivering Sun, where a luminescent haze caught inside colliding and intersecting trapezoids creates an unstable geometry that is alive and pulsating. His critiques of Indian and Asian politics—as in this work—are oblique, alluding to the earth’s instability through abstract forms.
Born in Kamilia in Punjab, Krishna married the renowned artist Devayani Krishna. Best known for his painting of the ascension of the new Dalai Lama in 1939, Krishna journeyed time and again to the Himalayas, residing with his wife in the mountains’ northern Indian and Tibetan regions during the 1940s. Both were deeply affected by the territorial conflicts surrounding them. In Tibet, the Chinese government was increasingly encroaching upon the rights and freedoms of Buddhist monks, and in Kashmir, Pakistan and India were contesting each other’s claim to the state. During the bloody Indo-Pakistani war, Krishna accompanied the Indian army to Kashmir and witnessed firsthand the war’s tragic consequences.