In 1964 Hodgkin made his first trip to India. However, his fascination with the country had begun much earlier, when his art teacher introduced him to Indian painting at the age of fourteen. Struck by the bold colours and the rich combination of styles, Hodgkin began to buy Indian miniatures of his own, assembling a fine collection of paintings and drawings which has been displayed at the Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Museum.
Over the years Hodgkin has continued to return to India because, as he explains, it is ‘somewhere else’. His artistic relationship with the country ranges from exhibiting in the First India Triennale in 1968 to designing a mural in 2000 for the British Council Building in New Delhi by architect Charles Correa. Paintings referring to the people he befriended in India, including artist Jamini Roy and historian Foy Nissen, also evoke Hodgkin’s experience of India itself – its exotic colours, energies and rhythms.