Born in Akola, Maharashtra, Ambadas grew up close to Mahatma Gandhi’s extended family. His subaltern origins and frugal living, Gandhian values and high ideals, all shaped his personality into a complex one, with the clash of material and spiritual needs making him strive for a higher purpose in life. After matriculation, Ambadas received training at a private art school in Ahmedabad. In 1952, along with classmates Tyeb Mehta, Akbar Padamsee and Mohan Samant, he completed his diploma from Sir J. J. School of Art, Bombay. Employment as a hand-loom textile designer at the government-run Weavers Service Centre made him shift from Bombay to Madras, and then to New Delhi. Here, he met like-minded artists J. Swaminathan, Rajesh Mehra and Himmat Shah, with whom, in 1962, he formed Group 1890. These artists questioned existing art scenarios and contemplated the ideological shifts necessary for modern Indian art, both through criticism and novel creation. However, the association did not last long, disintegrating soon after the group’s first and only exhibition. Before the shift to Norway where he lived since 1972, Ambadas travelled on a scholarship to the U.S.A. and Germany.