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Y.G. Srimati


Y. G. Srimati, artist and musician, was educated in Bangalore and Madras (Chennai), India.  Trained as a dancer in the styles of Bharatanatyam and Kathak, she danced her first public performance at 7 years old… “moving with the breath of the Deities.”  Srimati also played several Indian instruments, excelling in Veena as a soloist and a vocalist singing in both Hindustani and Carnatic styles.  She was raised in a very creative home where the traditional South Indian arts took hold and flourished after the cultural hiatus during the British occupation.  Her older brother, with whom she lived and deeply respected, was a collector of Indian art. Between the growing number of pieces in the home and her frequent visits to the nearby National Art Gallery, her interest and ability in drawing and painting took hold and flourished.  Using pencil, brush and colors, Srimati discovered another medium that wove her life closer to that of the Deities.  Her talent was recognized and in 1952 Y. G. Srimati had her first exhibition of paintings by C. Rajagopalachari, Chief Minister of Madras: Y. G. Srimati was a proficient self-taught artist in classical Indian and Persian styles. Her work has been shown internationally in many solo shows between 1952 – 1987.  In 1967 Srimati received a commission from the Smithsonian Institute for the Geneva Peace Conference – creating the large etching ‘Gandharva’ with the Smithsonian Institute International Art Program (IAP).  Her work is in the collections of the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC; Library of Congress, Washington, DC; New York Public Library, New York, NY; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; and many private collections.  She is listed in “Present-Day Painters of India” by Manu Thacker published in 1950; and, “Travancore valsignat land” by Signe Hojer, Stockholm, 1955.

“Born in Mysore, India, she was educated in Bangalore & Madras; and unlike other Indian girls of her class who take to the fine arts as part of their accomplishments, Srimati first learnt dancing, then music and then painting.  A good grounding in classical dancing at an early age gives the young aspirant the rhythmic significance of forms, which alone gives to art, be it painting, sculpture or dancing, its vital character.”            – Thacker/Venkatachalam

“…her arrangement of colours has a ‘musical quality”    – D. P. Ray Chowdhury