Raqib Shaw was born in Calcutta in 1974, and spent most of his youth in Kashmir. He moved to London in 1998 to study at Central St Martins art school, and soon shot to international fame with his flamboyant, fantastical and labour-intensive paintings. His work has since been exhibited at Tate Britain, the Royal Academy and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Raqib Shaw’s i...magery is inspired by the Old Masters - breathtaking in their intricacy, complexity and flamboyant colour, they are the product of months, often years of intense work. His gloriously opulent paintings suggest a fantastical world full of intricate detail, rich colour, and jewel-like surfaces, all masking the intense violent and sexual nature of its imagery.
Shaw's unique technique, where pools of enamel and metallic industrial paints are manipulated to the desired effect with a porcupine quill, are meticulously enhanced through numerous details such as coral, feathers or flowers. Shaw’s paintings divide opinion. Critic Roberta Smith once wrote, “It is very difficult to find any redeeming qualities in this end-times expression of luxury and excess” – but they are remarkably lucrative. In 2007, Shaw broke the auction record for an artwork by an Indian artist, when his painting The Garden of Earthly Delights III sold at Sotheby’s for £2.7m.