Born in India in 1957, Milburn Cherian did not train to be an artist, graduating in visual communication from the National Institute of Design in 1983.
Cherian says that she learnt art from reading a lot of books and going through reproductions of several famous painters. Milburn shied away from making a livelihood as a graphic artist as she felt that graphic designing teaches you to simplify things – to translate an idea easily. Her thinking runs contrary to this – “I like doing just the opposite. I like detailing,” she says. That detailing is vivid in each one of her artworks. Expressive faces, minute work on the dresses of her myriad figures, the designs on the floor tiles, the scene-depictions all show her love for detailing.
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Biblical themes dominate Milburn’s work and she is not shy of admitting to her religiosity. Some of her works have an element of sorrow in them – “Distorting the human body helps me to convey the pain and wretchedness of modern life around us.” But her repertoire is not all sombre stuff. There are also depictions of clowns in her paintings to portray joy, humour and the lighter side of life.