Art News & Views

Art Events Kolkata: May June 2011

by Mrinal Ghosh

Jorasanko Tagore House and Rabindranath
Indian Museum, Ashutosh Centenary Hall
6 May to 12 May, 2011
In the history of our modern culture the contribution of the Tagore House at Jorasanko of Kolkata is immense. This house came into being some time during 1784 through the endeavor of Nilmoni Tagore, one of the early personalities of this family. Dwarakanath Tagore added considerably to the wealth and treasures of this family. Rabindranath was born here one hundred and fifty years ago, in 1861. On the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary this exhibition was organized by Indian Museum highlighting on history and various features of the Tagore family. It also reflected on the evolution of life and creativity of Rabindranath and his relation with the other members of the family. Through written texts and photographs it highlighted on the environment and cultural context of the nineteenth and some early part of twentieth century in which the renascent figures of this great family were engaged in their creativity and cultural activities. The exhibition comprised of some important paintings by Rabindranath himself and also by other artists of the Tagore family like Jyotirindranath, Abanindranath and Gaganendranth Tagore. There were photographs of Rabindranath with some important personalities throughout the world. Various ornaments and specimens of sarees or dresses used by Dwarakanath, his wife Dwigambari Devi, Saradasundari Devi, mother of Rabindranath and other members of the family and Rabindranath himself were also displayed. These were from the collection of the museum. With all these exhibits this unusual show reflected very aesthetically on the cultural revolution of our country.

Summer Show 2011
CIMA Gallery
6 May to 16 July, 2011
Summer show of CIMA is an annual event that reflects on the general trend of art activity of our country in contemporary context. This year 52 works by 24 painters and 4 sculptors from all over India have been displayed. Two of the sculptors Bimal Kundu and Shyamal Roy belong to the generation of 1980-s. The remaining two, Praneet Soi and Anjum Singh are from new generations of the new century. There are some prominent painters of 1960-s, like Jyoti Bhatt, Ramananda Bandopadhyay, Ganesh Pyne and Paramjit Singh. The first three show a tendency of assimilating tradition with modernity. Singh's landscapes abstract nature in a post-impressionist idiom. Artists of the next decade Rini Dhumal and Thota Tharani also internalize traditional norms, where as Shubhaprasanna works through assimilation of naturalism with expressionist idioms. Among the artists of the subsequent generations coming to their own during the decade 1990-s and first decade of twenty-first century, the remarkable feature of expression is the variety or multiplicity of forms and experimentations with various local and global trends. Among these artists some of the important names are Paresh Maity, Shreyashi Chatterjee, Sumtro Basak, Abir Karmakar, Goutam Khamaru, Shakila, C. Bhagyanath, Shivanand Basavanthappa and others.

Rabindranath Tagore: Pilgrimages to the East. Tagore in Kantha. Tagore and Cinema. Tagore in Advertisement. Philatelic Exhibition on Tagore.
Rabindranath Tagore Centre. ICCR. Kolkata
9 May to 10 June, 2011
To celebrate 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath ICCR --Kolkata mounted the above four exhibitions spread over two of its galleries. The first one 'Pilgrimages to the East' was held in Jamini Roy Gallery, the other three in Abanindra Gallery.

'Pilgrimages to the East' is curated by Supriya Roy highlights through photographs and texts on Tagore's visit to the Asian countries in the Eastern world. He visited Burma in 1916, 1924 and 1927, Ceylon in 1934, China in 1924, Bali in 1927, Malaya 1924, Singapore, Java and Siam in 1927, Indo-China (Vietnam) in 1929. About this visits to the Eastern world the curatorial note states: 'Rabindranath's journeys to the East are quite distinct from those he made to the West. The west, comprising countries, including the New World is comparatively younger in age and in history than the Eastern countries. The poet was a young seventeen year old lad during his first trip to the West. The youthfulness added a touch of romance, a light hearted joy in life. But the east is ancient. Even in his attitude we discern a difference; whereas his travels to the West had an air of adventure, his travels eastward were like pilgrimages in the footsteps of his ancestors who traveled to the East from India carrying a message of Truth and Love. This reverence for his ancestors and their mission makes him humble and he identifies himself with them.' The exhibition exposes this humbleness and identification.

The exhibition on 'Tagore in Kantha' conceptualized by Shamlu Dudeja, chairperson of the NGO 'Self Help Enterprise' showcased in traditional kantha embroidery various illustrations of Tagore's creations. Most engaging was the pictures on 'Sahaj Path'.

'Tagore and Cinema' was conceptualized by Arun Kr. Roy. It exposed Tagore's thoughts on and his relations with the medium of film.

'Tagore in Advertisement', also conceptualized by Arun Kr. Roy, shows how the personality and fame of Tagore was used in various sorts of advertisements during his lifetime.

'Philatelic Exhibition on Tagore' showcased various sorts of postal stamps designed in honour of Tagore through out the world. These were from the collection of Sekhar Chakraborty, Moloy Sarkar and Souvik Roy.

'Summer Oasis'
Chitrakoot Art Gallery
24 May to 18 May, 2011
In this annual event like previous years Chitrakoot Gallery from its own collection has displayed 48 paintings and 4 sculptures. The paintings highlights on the outline of historical evolution of modernity in art of Bengal. It begins from early Bengal school and Kalighat painting that is from second half of nineteenth century and traverses all the way till the end of twentieth century showcasing such young contemporary artists like Manoj Mitra, Chanchal Mukherjee and Arup Das. From academic naturalist school beautiful oil by Bamapada Banerjee has been displayed that shows how Indian mythical subjects were represented in British academic naturalist form by Indian artists. . Bamapada Banerjee can rarely be seen today. From that respect this exhibition is important. This naturalism has traversed all the way till the contemporary period. . The works of both these artists have been displayed. The next development of Indian modernity took place through neo-Indian School. Abanindranath Tagore was the pioneer. He is represented through a small water colour showing a bird on the branch of a tree. Small, yet carries deep sensibility. Among the other artists of this school there is Nandalal Bose, Sunayani Devi, Mukul Dey, Devi Prasad RoyChowdhury and some others. There is a beautiful landscape in wash by Gaganendranath, who was associated with this school but whose works surpass the formal boundary of this school. Then there is Jamini Roy and finally Rabindranath Tagore that marks the transcendence from so called Indian style. The exhibition then traverses from 1940-s to 1980-s. All the different trends of forties have been displayed from Jainul Abedin, Chittaprasad, Somnath Hore to Gopal Ghosh, Paritosh Sen, MF Husain, Satyen Ghosal. Coming to sixties it shows Nikhil Biswas, Ganesh Pyne, Prakash Karmakar, Bikash Bhattacharya and others. Thus in one show we get the entire visual history of our modernity.

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