Unaware of his interest in art, Avinash Chandra’s parents wanted him to study engineering. Eventually, he took a diploma in painting from the Delhi Polytechnic, where he also taught for a few years. Despite two successful shows in India, he was dissatisfied with the art world, and in 1956 moved to the United Kingdom, where he studied the language and technique of Vincent van Gogh and Soutine and drew his inspiration from European city landscapes.
Avinash Chandra’s recurrent theme has been the female body. He began with elegant line drawings which evolved throughout the Seventies to implicit, erotic coloured drawings. Sexual imagery may have played a vital role in his art but was introduced as part of a much larger experience in a wider context. Employing the primitivist trope, Chandra often reduced female anatomy to shapes as though suspended in a space invaded by phallocentric forms.
Chandra was the first Indian artist to exhibit at one of the most important art events worldwide – Documenta in Kassel, West Germany, in 1964. Widely collected, especially by museums in the U.K., Chandra won fellowships in the Sixties to the John D. Rockefeller III Fund and Fairfield Foundation.