She was an Indian painter and he sister of Hindi film director, producer, and actor Guru Dutt.
She was a self-taught artist born into a family involved in the arts, and was very fond of classical dance even as a child.
She was from a traditional family and hence developed an interest in art. Her uncle B. B. Benegal, who was a commercial artist from Kolkata, brought her a box of paints. She seriously began painting in 1961 but in those days one could not sell one's work and hence she had to teach in an art school to support herself financially. While teaching she worked with disabled and underprivileged children.
Her first painting was sold for just Rs. 100 to a German art collector, Dr. Heinzmode. He used to take her works and in exchange gave her works of German artists or some books.
Her 1990s work which show hidden tensions that exist between men and women captured different roles they play. But her women were not meek but assertive and aggressive. She even used images of Kali and Durga in her work. Her closest inspiration was a series she painted called "The Family series" and this work was displayed at Chemould.
Her first exhibition was the group exhibition at Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai, where, in 1961, she also held her first solo exhibition. Lajmi taught at Campion School and Convent of Jesus & Mary for over two decades and later enrolled in the JJ School of Art to complete her art masters. Lalitha Lajmi's works are held in collections in the National Gallery of Modern Art and the CSMVS Museum in India, and the British Museum.
She gave a guest appearance in Aamir Khan's 2007 Bollywood film, Taare Zameen Par and has also done costume designing for a play by Amol Palekar. She has also worked as a graphics artist in Hindi movie Aghaat.
Lajmi's works are figurative in nature – men, women, children and clowns. 'Performance' has been a constant motif on her works, she portraits people's interactions, her early works were melancholic in nature, and her later works are more optimistic. But through the years, her works have continued being autobiographical.
13 January 2023 to 26 February 2023: National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai - The Mind's Cupboard - Lalitha Lajmi - A retrospective
1997: Appa Rao Gallery, Chennai
1996: Pundole's, Mumbai
1981: Hutheesing Centre for Visual Art, Ahmedabad
1980: Art Heritage, New Delhi
1978, 1974, 1972, 1966, 1962, 1961: Mumbai, Germany and USA
1978: Gallery Gay, Germany
1977: Prints Exhibition at Max Muller Bhavan, Kolkata
1976: Boston and Los Angeles
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bombay
Space Research Centre, Ahmedabad
CMC Office – Bombay, Delhi and Calcutta
National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi
National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai
Lalit Kala Academy, New Delhi
Chandigarh Museum, Chandigarh
Bradford Museum, England, UK
British Museum, London, UK
Air India Office, Bombay
Procter and Gamble Ltd
Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation
Birla Museum, Hyderabad
Tehelka, “ART FOR FREEDOM” for BON-HAMS Auction in London
Domestic airport in Mumbai by Tarana Khubchandani of Art & Soul Gallery.
Jehangir Art Gallery, 15–21 January 2014
1997: ICCR Travel Grant for International Contemporary Indian Women Artists Show for 50 Years of Indian Independence organized by Mills College of Art at Oakland, California
1983: ICCR Travel Grant to Germany
1979: Bombay Art Society, Mumbai
1978: State Art Exhibition Award
1977: Bombay Art Society Award (Etching)
1977: ICCR Travel Grant to Oakland, California
She was the recipient of the Government of India Junior Fellowship from 1979 to 1983
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