One of the greatest and most celebrated painters of the 20th century, Jamini Roy was born on 11th April in the year 1887, at Beliator village in Bankura district of Bengal. At a very young age of 16, Jamini Roy joined the Government School of Art, Kolkata and there he learned under Abanindranath Tagore who was famous for his valuable contribution in the field of modern arts.
Abanindranath Tagore, under whose tutelage Jamini Roy learned, was also the founder of Bengal school and was the Vice-Principal of the Government School of Arts. In the start, Jamini Roy’s paintings had a distinct western school influence on them. By the early 1930s, Roy made a complete switch to indigenous materials and to Indian cultural styles of painting. Influenced by Kalighat style of paintings, Roy painted with bold brush strokes and colours. His paintings on woven mats, cloth, and wood coated with lime were an inspiration from the Byzantine art, which he had seen in colour photographs.
The Santhals, a tribal people who live in the rural districts of Bengal, were an important subject for Roy. This new found attraction for a tribe and their dances captured the qualities that are a part of native folk painting recombined with those of Roy’s Kalighat style.
To honour this extraordinary artist, in 1954 he was awarded the ‘Padma Bhushan’ by the Government of India, the third civilian highest award. In 1955, he was made the first Fellow of the ‘Lalit Kala Akademi’, the highest honour in the fine arts conferred by the Lalit Kala Akademi, India's National Academy of Art. Further, in 1976, the Archaeological Survey of India, Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India declared his works among the "Nine Masters" whose work, to be henceforth considered "to be art treasures, having regard to their artistic and aesthetic value"!
Earlier in 1934, he had received a Viceroy's gold medal in an all India exhibition for one of his work. India Post too has honoured Roy in a commemorative 25 Paise stamp depicting one of his paintings titled “Two Vaishnavas”.