Waswo X. Waswo and R. Vijay
Born on the 22nd of March, 1970, R. Vijay, is best known for his collaborative work with American artist Waswo X. Waswo. The artist received little formal training and his miniature painting style has been described as naïve, though his works have drawn attention and praise from various critics throughout India.
Early in life R. Vijay was tutored by traditional miniaturists such as Sukhdev Singh Sisodiya and Laxmi Narayan Sikaligar. Later he developed his own style, which has been called an eclectic mix of Persian and Mogul styles, along with a bit of the Company School of Indo-British art.
In 2004 R.Vijay began doing collaborative work with the American expat Waswo X. Waswo. Taking concepts suggested by Waswo, Vijay creates a series of miniatures that depict a foreigner’s life in India, complete with a wide variety of emotions and predicaments. The two artists take joint credit for this body of work, with R. Vijay signing the front of each painting and Waswo embossing his initials and signing the back. This work has been exhibited along with the collaborations Waswo has done with photographic hand-colorist Rajesh Soni, and is considered part of Waswo's series A Studio in Rajasthan.
The miniatures of Waswo X. Waswo and R. Vijay often pay homage to various historical and contemporary Indian artists. A dark humour pervades the work, portraying Waswo and his real life partner Thomas in various adventures and perplexing situations. Alienation, otherness, and western privilege are addressed in an oftentimes whimsical manner.
(For more information on the series A Studio in Rajasthan, please search "Waswo X. Waswo" in Art Slant.)