Exhibition We And Our Friends, an exhibition of paintings, explores the man-animal relationship

The man-animal relationship has been explored variously in art and literature. But in the real world, its significance is yet to be grasped. Man-animal conflict has increased due to rampant commercialisation and cruelty towards animals continues with impunity. To bring back the need to protect animals from harm, The Debasree Roy Foundation in association with Gallery Time and Space organised a group exhibition, titled We And Our Friends. The exhibition featured the works of well-known artists from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. The paintings are an aesthetic depiction of the enduring relationship among man, animal and Nature. The exhibition was a brilliant splash of colours, interspersed with black-and-white sketches, created in acrylic, oils, pastels and water colours.

Some of the paintings portray the myriad connections we share with animals. Interestingly, most of these works are set in rural India—where animals are treated with reverence and affection. The rest are brilliant portraits of animals. Moutushi Banerjee’s life-like works evoke awe and wonder while Asma Menon’s abstract paintings soothe. Narendra Babu KG’s Dream Series, with its tribal art motifs, is primarily created with ink and coloured pen draws the viewer into a pleasing world of colour and harmony.

Shuvaprasanna’s portrait of a cat, painted in striking purple, looks back defiantly at the viewer. It is a reminder that man is not the only being that should have pride in his existence, animals too are capable of it. Ashoke Mullick’s sketch of a pack of dogs playing among themselves evokes feelings of affection. Ramananda Bandhapadyay’s bird portraitures are unique for the use of exotic colours, a white bird against an azure blue background and a bird in dark brown and white against a biscuit-brown background. Jogen Chowdhury’s sketches of birds and animals appeals for its simple representation of the animal world. There other evocative paintings by Amit Dhar, Arshita Kaur, Lalu Shaw, Nirender Kumar, Abdul Salem, Sunil Sarkar, Arup Ranjan, among others.

Debasree Roy, a leading actor from Bengal, has been working with stray animals in Kolkata for nine years. “Man, Nature and the animal world are inextricably linked. One cannot survive without the other. We must treat our animals with compassion. We must co-exist with them as they are our friends. I hope that this exhibition will raise awareness against cruelty towards animals as well as raise funds for my endeavour to build an animal shelter and hospital in Kolkata.”

The paintings are for sale and are priced between Rs. 5,000 to 75,000, half of the proceeds of which will go to Debasree Roy Foundation. For details call: 22124117.