Born in Kerala, A. Ramachandran took a degree in Malayalam literature before acquiring a masters in art at Santiniketan, which influenced his early figuration on both a muralist’s monumental scale as well as with the more intimate ambit of a miniaturist. Ramachandran devoted the first half of his career to the exploration of modern man in his urban environment, but in the latter, he reversed that trajectory to a celebration of life in rural India – focused around a community near Udaipur, Rajasthan. As a result of this, his early gloomy images of humans represented as headless entities in oppressive urbanscapes were replaced by a colourful, joyous and altogether seductive later idiom that explored life in and around lotus ponds, complete with women, birds and beasts, often bearing the artist’s face.
Ramachandran has also been an art teacher and associated with children’s literature, writing and illustrating fifty picture books between 1961-92 that were published in India, and abroad, and conducting workshops on children’s book illustrations in many countries for UNESCO. A designer of stamps for the postal department, Ramachandran became chairman of the Kerala Lalit Kala Akademi in 1993 and received the Padma Bhushan in 2005. The artist lives and works in New Delhi.