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Ibrahim Wagh

Born, 1936 in Bombay, India

In 1963, a number of recently arrived artists from India came together to form the Indian Painters Collective. Ibrahim Wagh was one of those artists. This was however, a relatively short-lived venture. One of the ventures of the Indian Painters Collective was an exhibition, Six Indian Painters, held at the Tagore India Centre, India House, London, in 1964 (Six Indian Painters, Gajanan D. Bhagwat, Balraj K. Khanna, Yashwant Mali, S. V. Rama Rao, Lancelot Ribeiro, and Ibrahim Wagh, Tagore India Centre, London, 9 - 28 November 1964).

The exhibition catalogue was introduced as follows,

“The artists exhibited here are also the founder members of “The Indian Painters Collective”. The group consists of Indian artists living and working in London. It has been formed with the intention of holding frequent exhibitions under their own auspices and also to participate in other exhibitions here and on the continent. Their work represents a cross section of Indian painting today. The young and talented members of this group have won a good deal of acclaim in India and some are also known abroad.”

Subsequently, Wagh was involved in a group known as IAUK - Indian Artists United Kingdom. He exhibited with the group (alongside Prafulla Mohanti, Lancelot Ribeiro, Suresh Vedak, Yeshwant Mali, and Mohammad Zakir) in an exhibition at Burgh House Museum, New End Square, Hampstead, London NW3. The exhibition was Exhibition of Paintings by IAUK Indian Artists living in U.K. and took place 27 January - 24 February 1980. The brochure for the exhibition featured the following useful introduction to IAUK:

“Throughout the history of art, at least throughout the history of modern art, there have been groups of artists. The reason for the existence of these groups have been perhaps as diverse as the ideas behind them. But invariably there have been sound human reasons for these groups to come about.
     The IAUK too has similar reasons for its existence. It is an Association of Professional Artists of Indian origin who have lived and worked in the UK for the last fifteen years or more. It is a revised version of an earlier body - The Indian Painters Collective, 1963 - a revival which is influenced by practical reasons derived from the result of its members’ efforts during their individual struggle for recognition.
     We, the members of IAUK, have come to believe that if the issues concerning us are approached collectively, we stand a better chance of succeeding and thus of making a positive contribution to the arts and culture of this country we have now made our home.
     Among the IAUK‘s aims are the recognition of its members’ work on an equal basis with their British contemporaries and the fulfilment of their rights to the amenities and facilities available in this democratic society. The IAUK would like to assist and promote Indian artists living in this country by showing their work. And, through exhibitions at 8 South Audley Street, London W1, and other selected places, it will attempt to create a growing awareness of the Indian arts and culture among the general public.
     The IAUK is the only organisation of its kind outside India. It functions on strict democratic lines.”

The brochure featured brief biographical notes on each of the artists. Wagh’s entry was,

“Joined the Sir J.J. School of Art, Bombay and graduated in 1954.
Won the first prize in the final year. Between 1952-61, participated in all major exhibitions in India and won several awards.
     In 1961, was awarded the Silver medal and cash prize in Bombay Art Society’s Annual Exhibition. He came to England on a scholarship for further studies at the Central School of Art, London. Subsequently studied at the London College of Printing and Graphic Art and the Twickenham College of Technology and Art. In 1961, had his first one-man show at the Jehangir Art Gallery, Bombay. Since then, had several one-man and group shows in Britain and India, executed several murals and designed exhibitions for the Department of the Environment. Before coming to Britain, was involved in the theatre and took part in many major productions in Bombay.
     In 1978, was awarded an Arts Council Grant for Multi-Media performances to be produced by Nava Kala (India Socio-Cultural Centre) London, in the near future.
Paintings in private and public collections in India, Europe and America.

Wagh was a member of Rainbow Art Group, an intriguing new initiative of the late 1970s, involving a number of London’s artists. Briefly, the history of the group was as follows: “In the Spring of 1978 MAAS (Minorities’ Arts Advisory Service) held its second London conference. This conference which took place on the 14th April 1978, summoned together people from ethnic groups living in London who were involved with the arts of London’s ethnic groups… The visual artists recognised the main problem that exists in relation to the work and aspirations of all ethnic minorities in the art world, including their own. This is the difficulty that all find in getting their work considered seriously and supported through established channels. They therefore decided, at the Conference, to form an organisation with the aim of promoting their work and, by joint efforts, to make a positive contribution to the cultural life of the country. In this way they hope eventually to create a climate of knowledge and appreciation that will allow the work of the future generation to be admired and sought after on its own merits and not simply because it happens to be the work of an ethnic minority. The first tasks were to find a name, qualify aims and objectives and work out a constitution. At the group’s second meeting held on the 24th June 1978 at the Keskidee Centre, the members agreed that the group should be named ‘Rainbow Art Group’ thereafter.” (1)

The group consisted of Indira Ariyanayagam, Uzo Egonu, Lancelot Ribeiro, Taiwo Jegede, Errol Lloyd, Yeshwant Mali, Gordon V. de La Mothe, Durlabh Singh, Suresh Vedak, Ibrahim Wagh, and Mohammad Zakir. Rainbow Art Group undertook several exhibitions during the time of its existence.

(1) Rainbow Art Group exhibition leaflet, for a show of “Paintings and Sculptures” at Action Space, London, 22 May – 9 June 1979.

Ibrahim Wagh was the Exhibition Co-ordinator for an Exhibition of paintings, prints and sculptures by RAINBOW ART GROUP, of which Lancelot Ribeiro was a founder member. The exhibition  took place 7 - 12 July 1980. The exhibition was part of London Entertains: The Third Festival of Many Cultures. The exhibition was opened by Mr. George Melly. The opening also featured an introduction to Rainbow Art Group by Mr Brian Frost, the Festival Chairman. The venue was Berthe Hess Museum, 34 Cathedral Place, Paternoster Square, (Off St. Paul’s Cathedral) London.

Related items + view all 7

click to show details of Exhibition of Paintings by IAUK Indian Artists living in U.K. brochure
click to show details of Exhibition of Paintings by IAUK Indian Artists living in U.K. press release

»  Exhibition of Paintings by IAUK Indian Artists living in U.K. press release

Press release relating to an exhibition, 1980

click to show details of IAUK Indian Artists United Kingdom folder

»  IAUK Indian Artists United Kingdom folder

Catalogue relating to a publication

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  Action Space

London, United Kingdom

»  Berthe Hess Museum

London, United Kingdom

»  Burgh House Museum

London, United Kingdom

»  Tagore India Centre, India House, London

London, United Kingdom