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Painter and writer

 Balraj Khanna, who was born in Jhang in 1939 and died in London in 2024, was a renowned British Indian painter and writer. A love of the English language and culture took him to London in the bitter winter of 1962, where Goanese painter Francis Newton Souza warned him of the “pitiless prejudice, indifference, and scorn” he would meet. ​In London, Khanna’s career as a painter blossomed. He met important diplomats, critics, and artists; became a member of the Indian Painters Collective; lectured on Indian art in universities; and exhibited at well-known galleries across the country.​

Throughout the 60's Khanna developed his art practice, exhibiting in the UK and abroad.​ In 1965, a lengthy period of recuperation from a road accident sparked a change in Khanna’s painting style. Recovering in Metz, next to the Forêt St-Bernard in France, Khanna felt connected to nature for the first time since leaving India. He credited this time with instilling ‘a new force’ in his practice, inspiring his multi-layered abstract works. Incorporating organic and geometric forms, Khanna sought to express what he called ‘the theatre of the natural world’.​​

There has been greater recognition of his work beginning with the pioneering exhibition ‘The Other Story’ 1989, Hayward Gallery to the current solo display of his work at tate Britain. Balraj Khanna would become one of the most distinguished painters in the country, as well as a prize-winning writer and curator. ​​

Khanna’s paintings and archives are accessible in public collections including Tate Britain, London; Arts Council England; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and other Art UK organisations. The growing recognition of his unique place in British art history is ongoing. 

Artist Balraj Khanna, London circa 1963

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From 24 June 2024 - 21 April 2025

Now open- free 

This solo display of abstract paintings by British-Indian painter spotlight the artist's remarkable practice in India, London and France. 

Khanna's lyrical paintings brim with an energy that recalls both microscopic and macroscopic views of the natural world. 

Balraj Khanna - Garden 1987
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