Nayanaa Kanodia is considered to be the pioneer of L’art Naïf (Naïve Art) in India, a genre until then unseen and unheard of in a contemporary context. She has since established a rare niche for herself in this very particular style in India.
Naïve art was originally defined as visual art that is created by a person who lacks the formal education and training that a professional artist undergoes. This aesthetic is sometimes emulated by trained artists and may then be referred to as primitivism, pseudo-naïve art, or faux naïve art. Naïve art is recognized, and often imitated, for its childlike simplicity and frankness. Paintings of this kind typically have a flat rendering style with a rudimentary expression of perspective. One particularly influential painter of “naïve art” was Henri Rousseau (1844–1910), a French Post-Impressionist who was discovered by Picasso.
Nayanaa, born in 1950 in Pune, Maharashtra, is an entirely self-taught artist except for a year-long apprenticeship with Anjolie Ela Menon – one of India’s leading contemporary artists. Life and its eccentricities are what inspires her to paint. Her work reflects the charming idiosyncrasies of her subjects. Ordinary people, their joys and sorrows, vignettes of middle class and street life with its economics of survival are often a starting point.