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Born: April 16, 1914; Bolarum (near Secunderabad).
Died: June 30, 1985; Mumbai.
Krishnaji Howlaji Ara was the son of a car driver, he lost his mother at the age of three and moved to Mumbai when he was seven. He earned a living by cleaning cars, joined the Salt Satyagraha, was imprisoned for five months and after that found a job as a car cleaner to a Japanese firm for a salary of Rs. 18 a month.
He started painting in his spare time, and was encouraged, and supported, by the then art critic for the "Times of India", Rudy von Leyden. After the bombing of Pearl Harbour, Ara's Japanese employer ran away, leaving his house to his servants. Ara continued to live and paint in his small servant's room for the rest of his life.
He had his first one man show in 1942 in the Chetana Restaurant. He was a founder member of the Progressive Artists' Group and had several shows with the rest of this group. He was part of the managing committee of the Bombay Art Society and served on the selection and judging committee of the Lalit Kala Akademi. In his later years he spent much of his time on the Artists' Centre.