Indian Contemporary Art in the break of 21st century is as varied as it had never been before. From the elitist business houses and royal families, it has now entered the drawing rooms of the middle-class buyers and from domestic market it is now traveling offshore to fetch immense; often astronomical prices.
To categorize Indian Fine Art, we can have many criteria. One criterion which is often used by the Art Schools is the criterion of the medium. In this criterion the artists are classified as oil painters, ocrylic painters, water colorists, terracotta sculptors, installations artists, etc. But this is not a very good criterion as many artists in the 21st century do not use any single medium but experiment with many media simultaneously. Again the very distinction between paintings, assemblages, installations, collages and sculptures is getting blurred with each passing day.
Another way of classifying Indian Art is categorize the art works in terms of the region of the artist’s origin. This is a very popular criterion and specific trends of artworks have been named after important centres of art like Santiniketan, Baroda, Calcutta, Bombay, Pune, Delhi, and Trivandrum. However many artists move from one place to another and do not attach themselves with any particular school of art.
A more difficult approach is to understand artists and their art in terms of the inspirations they draw from. Art in India had always been an integral part of Indian life and excavations of art objects from historical places have shown that Indian art had reached a very high degrees of sophistication and abstraction at various times in Indian History. Many of the artists in 21st century India use these historical styles in their art. Similarly there are artists who draw their inspiration from the rich folk traditions of India.
India had always been closely connected with other countries. Influence of these various cultures can be seen in the art of various times. Even today the trend continues as Indian artists remain connected to the trends outside and openly adapt to the emerging European and Oriental styles.
Again while contemporary artists in India take inspiration from various sources and styles, Indian Art still retains its distinct Indianness. Newer styles never seen before are also emerging in the Indian scene; forms and styles which actually cannot be categorized into any specific existing genre.