Calliope Babu-Khan Biography

Calliope Babu-Khan



Painter and printmaker Calliope Babu-Khan was born Calliope Caloyera in Athens, Greece, in 1928. Among her earliest memories of pursuing art, she recalls drawing on a tablecloth in a cafe and grinding colorful minerals into a powder to make her own paints as a child. Her parents fostered her love of art and had her placed in a private preparatory class. As teenager, she attended the Polytechnic School of Fine Arts in Greece before receiving a scholarship to attend the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco (now the San Francisco Art Institute), in 1950.

It had been her goal to move to New York City once she had completed her studies in San Francisco. However, she was diverted to Los Angeles by friends, and was granted an interview at the Art Department at UCLA . She was accepted for graduate work, and soon, Los Angeles became her permanent home. 

Babu-Khan’s work is greatly influenced by the mythological legends of her Greek homeland and of the culture of her husband Shafi Babu-Khan’s homeland, India. Recurring themes in her work often involve rich tapestries and colors, whether she is depicting figures or still-lives. In 1980, she established the India Arts Council at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, for which she was president from 1980 until 1987. She was vice president of the Women Painters West from 1989 to 1992. More recently, Babu-Khan created a museum on the Greek island of Spetses, where her family had a summer home, to honor the 19th century heroine Laskarina Bouboulina, Greece’s first female naval admiral, who fought against the Ottoman Empire in 1821 in the Greek War of Independence.

Babu-Khan continues to paint in Pacific Palisades, California.