Born in 1930, P.V. Janaki ram graduated from the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Chennai, with a Diploma in Fine Arts (Painting) in 1953 and a Diploma in Fine Arts (Sculpture) in 1952. Later, he received an Honorary Diploma in Sculpture from the Hungarian Government in 1973.
A student of K.C.S. Panikkar and S. Dhanapal, Janaki ram was an important member of the Madras Art Movement. Over the course of his career, the artist developed a distinctive idiom, in which he used beaten sheet metal decorated with repousse work to render two-dimensional, frontal portrait sculptures. Influenced by the traditional temple sculptures of South India, particularly kavachas or doorway covers made from beaten metal, there are several religious icons amongst his body of works, ranging from Balaji to Christ.
Amongst the artist’s honors are National Awards from the Lalit Kala Academy in 1964 and 1966; a Silver Medal from the Hyderabad Art Society in 1965; the Madras Sate Lalit Kala Akademi Award in 1965 and 1966; and the Grand Prix at the 2nd Biennale at Budapest, Hungary, in 1973. Janaki ram’s work is part of several public collections, including those of the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi; the Lalit Kala Academy, New Delhi; Air-India, Mumbai; Mahindra & Mahindra, Mumbai; the Government Museum, Chennai; the Punjab Museum, Chandigarh; the Gandhi Museum, Chennai and the Taj Group of Hotels. The artist passed away in Chennai, where he lived, in 1995.