Born in 1887 in a small village in Beliatore, Bankura district, West Bengal, Jamini Roy joined the Government School of Art, Kolkata in 1903. He began his career by painting in the Post-Impressionist genre of landscapes and portraits. Yet, by 1925, Roy had begun experimenting along the lines of popular bazaar paintings sold outside the Kalighat temple in Kolkata. By the early 1930s, Roy made a complete switch to indigenous materials to paint on woven mats, cloth and wood coated with lime.
The Santhals, tribal people who live in the rural districts of Bengal, were an important subject for Roy. Roy’s rejection of the then modern style of painting and his foray into the realm of Bengali folk paintings marked a new beginning in the history of Indian modern art.The figure of the Christ was also a subject that Roy often painted.
Roy held several one-man exhibitions and numerous group shows. His works can be found in several private and public collections, institutions and museums all over the world. He was honored with the Padma Bhushan in 1955.