Born in 1958 in Mysore, India, Nataraj Sharma grew up in Egypt, England and Zambia. He studied Applied Art at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda, graduating in 1982. This hybrid lifestyle may also have given him a sense of the socio-political differences and cultural influences of rapidly modernising cities. The multi-media artist works fluidly between installation, painting and digital art, drawing on the appropriationist tendencies of Warhol and Duchamp, whilst maintaining a dialogue with the Bombay Progressive Artists Group of the 1990s. His large scale installations are often evocative of the frenzy of construction found in many urban Indian cities. Sharma offers a conflicted view of these developments: his use of miniaturisation is gently mocking of societies that adopt western modernity as a standard of cultural achievement. On the other hand his works are monuments to that very ideal.
Combining two strands in Indian visual history, Sharma seeks to create a dialogue around the notion of historical progress and urban realities. The narrative tradition of figuration, with its focus on emerging middle-class aspirations, and the geometric abstraction of Indian modernist painters is suffused within his vocabulary.
Strongly influenced by socio-political happenings across the world and his own migrations, his art Sharma’s reflects a multiplicity of influences, not just in its content but also in its form. Sharma has dabbled with equal ease and success. He was awarded Sotheby’s Best Emerging Artist in 1993.