Anjolie Ela Menon was born on 17 July 1940, in Burnpur, Bengal [now in West Bengal], India and is of mixed Bengali and American parentage.
She went to Lawrence School, Lovedale in the Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu. By the age of 15, when she left school, she had already sold a few paintings. Thereafter, she briefly studied at the Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai and later earned a degree in English literature from Delhi University, where she studied at the women’s college, Miranda House.
During this time, she was drawn to the works of Modigliani, and Indian painters, M F Husain and Amrita Shergil. At 18, she held a solo exhibition with fifty-three paintings of a variety of styles. She obtained a French Government scholarship to study at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1959 to 1961 and she travelled extensively in Europe and West Asia studying Romanesque and Byzantine art. During 1980-81, the governments of France, U.K. and US invited her to pursue further studies.
Being a well-known muralist, Anjolie Ela Menon has done over 35 solo shows and many group shows in India and abroad. In 1968, 1972 and 1975, she performed along with I, II, III International Triennale by Lalit Kala Akademi, with Paris Biennale, France in 1980 and in 1980 at New York and Washington D.C.
In the year 2000, Government of India conferred Anjolie Ela Menon with the most prestigious Padma Shree Award. In the same year, she was nominated to be on the board of trustees of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) — the only visual artist to have ever been nominated. In 2002, her work ‘Four Decades’ was shown in a major exhibition organised by the Vadehra Art Gallery in the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai. The collection eventually toured other prominent galleries in major Indian cities, including the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Bangalore. Her life and work has been featured in several publications and films made for CNN and Doordarshan Channels.
Vikash Kalra is a self-taught artist & writer based in New Delhi whose work has been exhibited across India and is held in several private and corporate collections.