Lancelot Ribeiro

Lancelot Ribeiro (1933-2010), born in Bombay, spent his childhood in India under the British Empire. He first arrived in Britain in 1950 to study accountancy at the urging of his brother, the well-known artist FN Souza, but soon abandoned this for life drawing at St Martins School of Art. Returning to India, he began to paint professionally and settled in Britain in 1962. His earliest works were in oils, strongly coloured townscapes with bold outlines in an expressionistic style. In the early 1960s, Ribeiro sought new effects experimenting with polyvinyl acetate and oil mixes – the forerunner of acrylic paints. Over the next 50 years, a restless imagination prompted works which included flying and tangled townscapes under explosive skies, brilliantly-coloured surreal scenes, playful wood sculptures and ceramics. Recent years have seen a surge in interest in the work of this artist following posthumous exhibitions at London’s Asia House, exhibitions in India, and a biography by arts writer, David Buckman: Lancelot Ribeiro: An Artist in India and Europe.

Biographical Information

1933

Born, Bombay.

1950

Travels to England on the P&O steamship 'Mooltan' to study accountancy but abandons this soon after. Stays with his brother, the artist FN Souza, in Chalk Farm.

1951

Stays at the International Language Club, East Croydon, Surrey.

1951-53

Studies life drawing at St Martin's School of Art, London.

1954

Travels extensively around Europe.

1954-55

Conscripted into National Service in the Royal Air Force and is stationed in Dumfries, Scotland.

1955

Returns to India. Works with the Life Insurance Corporation in Bombay. Painting and writing during this time.

1958

Starts painting professionally.

1961

First one-man exhibition at Bombay Artist Aid Centre. Commissioned by Homi Bhabha to paint a 12-foot mural panel for Tata Iron and Steel, Bombay. Gives poetry readings sponsored by the British Council, Bombay, the Bombay English Association and the Max Mueller Bhawan, New Delhi.

1962

Settles in England. Awarded a grant from the Congress for Cultural Freedom, Paris.

1963

Founder member of the Indian Painters Collective, UK with Gajanan D Bhagwat, L B Chavan, Balraj Khanna, Yashwant Mali, S V Rama Rao and Ibrahim Wagh (seven Indian painters living in the UK).

1972

Lectures on Indian Art and Culture for the Commonwealth Institute.

1976

Founder Member of the Multi-Cultural Rainbow Art Group.

1978

Founded the Indian Artists Collective with Balraj Khanna, Yashwant Mali and Ibrahim Wagh. Founded the Indian Artists United Kingdom Group (iauk) with Avinash Chandra, Prafull Dave, Balraj Khanna, Yashwant Mali, Prafulla Mohanti, Suresh Vedak, Ibrahim Wagh and Mohammed Zakir.

1989

Starts to exhibit extensively in Germany.

1998

Returns to India for one-man show.

2010

Displays one painting at British Art Fair, after a long absence. Dies at home on Christmas Day, London.

2013

Restless Ribeiro retrospective held at Asia House, London.

2016

Retracing Ribeiro, a year-long project exploring the artist’s life and work wins Heritage Lottery Fund support as part of 2017 UK-India Year of Culture celebrations.