Jamini Roy was the first Indian artist to consciously model his work entirely on folk art. In India ‘folk art’ was re-discovered in Bengal and began to be collected by prominent families and other connoisseurs early in the 20th century. It was very different from the delicate art of the Bengal Revivalist School.
Jamini Roy’s inventive style was derived from the Kalighat pat consisting of sweeping brush strokes and a lively depiction of religious and social motifs. His figures filled the page and tended to be compressed into the frame. During his ‘folk art’ phase, Jamini Roy’s compositions were more complex and crowded and he used a wide range of bright, opaque powder colours. He made art accessible to the general cognescenti and not only to the affluent few. Further, Roy’s search to find an authentic individuality (at a time when the country was still under foreign rule), has been seen by some to metaphorically merge with India’s independence movement.