Arpana Caur was born in 1954, in Delhi. She comes from a Sikh family who fled the Pakistani West Punjab to the Republic of India in 1947 during the confusion over the partition of British India. Her mother Ajit Kaur (born in 1934), is a writer who writes in Panjabi. She has not had her first name Arpana since her birth, but she adopted it at the age of fifteen, as an expression of a personal development process.
Her exposure to art, music and literature happened early in her life. She learnt the Sitar, wrote poetry, but enjoyed painting the most. At the age of nine, she made her first oil painting, ‘Mother & Daughter’ inspired by the works of Amrita Shergil. Arpana graduated from the University of Delhi with a Master of Arts degree in Literature. She never received formal training in painting, and was largely self taught. She proceeded to receive training in the etching technique at the Garhi Studios in New Delhi, completing it in 1982.
In an interview with Yashodhara Dalmia, when asked if she called herself a ‘feminist’, Caur immediately replied with a resounding ‘no’ because the themes she incorporates or is curious about, go beyond gender and ones that every human is faced with.
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.