Rebel with a cause...

abstract headWith an in-built passion for doing things differently, Souza embodies artistic freedom and originality. After struggling with the loss of his father at an early age; and then battling with a near fatal attack of small pox; Souza learnt early in life, that he had to follow his own unique path. A rebel with communist leanings, he believed ‘you cannot have art without bread.’ Souza also fought for India’s freedom when he joined the Quit India movement (for which he was expelled from the JJ School of Arts).

Souza’s controversial paintings are created with a purpose that penetrates and exposes society for what it is. He moves with equal aplomb between the sacred and the erotic since for him art was also a tool for transformation, “I use aesthetics instead of bullets or knives as a form of protest against stuffed shirts and hypocrites.” Indian art historian Yashodhara Dalmia has a deep insight into the ‘raison d’etre’ of Souza’s art when she states, "At the heart of Souza's creativity was the belief that society’s destructive aspects shouldn't be suppressed, they should be aired and confronted."

Souza’s contribution to Indian contemporary art includes freeing Indian artists from the shackles of realism. Francis Newton Souza Founded ‘Indian’s Progressive Art Movement’ with the aim of breaking out of colonial influences. He thus placed Indian artists like MF Hussain (whose talent he was the first to discover) on the global art landscape.