Ramkinkar Baij (1906-80) 

Born in humble surroundings in Bankura in 1906, Ramkinkar Baij showed his skill as an illustrator and artist even in his early teens. The litterateur and editor Ramananda Chatterjee with his keen sense of judgement spotted him and entrusted him to Nandalal Bose in 1925. Within a few years Ramkinkar showed an extraordinary command over technique and form and was soon appointed a teacher in Kala-Bhavana. He learnt the techniques of modelling on his own and took charge of the sculpture section with brilliant success. 

Ramkinkar was a fearless critic of art and quite early in life made daring innovations to storm the citadel of convention-ridden artists. He was equally ruthless in dealing with western naturalists who preferred the safe path of popularity in verisimilitude. 

It is significant that his first abstract sculpture 'Lamp stand', done in 1940, is the earliest example of this century in that medium. His two large compositions in cement on the simple lives of the Santals are great contributions to the heritage of Indian sculpture. 
Ramkinkar was no less active in the field of painting. His oil paintings have all the vitality with which he invested his sculpture. In fact, in his watercolours he revelled in pure abandon - colours splash with brilliant effect, lines swirl in a cadence. 

He never tired of singing the glory of such simple things as the red earth, the flowering palash, the nursing mother and the Santhal youth. He had a positive outlook; even in his harshest comments on famine he did not curse the world: he echoed the agony of hunger. He despised art that slandered or profaned human values. He showed in his work what an artist can be with his faith in mother earth and her rich everyday beauty.