Jitish Kallat is one of the most exciting and dynamic Asian artists to have received international recognition in recent years. Working across a variety of media including painting, sculpture, photography and installation, his work reflects a deep involvement with the city of his birth (Mumbai) and derives much of its visual language from his immediate urban environment. His subject matter has been described previously as 'the dirty, old, recycled and patched-together fabric of urban India'. Wider concerns include India's attempts to negotiate its entry into a globalised economy, addressing housing and transportation crises, city planning, caste and communal tensions, and government accountability.
Many of Kallat's works focus on Mumbai's downtrodden or dispossessed inhabitants, though treating them in a bold, colourful and highly graphic manner. Kallat traditionally mounts his paintings on bronze sculptures that are re-created from the wall adornments found on the 120-year-old Victoria Terminus train station in the centre of Mumbai.
“The city street is my university. One finds all the themes of life and art – pain, happiness, anger, violence and compassion – played out here in full volume. Scale is merely one of the many tools one can deploy in the creation of meaning, and decisions such as big, small, lifesize, etc., are as much acts of meaning creation as they may be retinal or aesthetic considerations.” Jitish Kallat, quoted in The Asian Art Newspaper, February 2010