K.G. Subramanyan was born in Kuthuparamba, Kerala, India. He lives and works in Santiniketan. A man of wide-ranging artistic ability, Subramanyan broke down the distinction between artist and artisan. After experimenting with weaving and toy-making, he tackled more traditional means of Indian art, such as terracotta, mural and glass painting. As an artist he is extraordinarily versatile, and his paintings are noted for their inherent wit, ironies, satire, and biting social commentaries. A theoretician and art historian, Subramanyan is equally famed for his extensive written work on Indian art. His writings provide an important touchstone in the study of contemporary Indian art. His chief contribution as a theorist has been the rigorous re-contextualization of Western theories and practices within an Indian or Oriental context. Indeed, the exploration of art as language is a recurring theme within his work. K.G. Subramanyam is one of most highly respected of living painters in India, often drawing comparisons with Tyeb Mehta and M.F. Husain. The Government of India awarded him the Padma Shri in 1975, Padma Bhushan in 2006, and Padma Vibhushan in 2012, three of the four highest civilian honours.