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Emotions composed in concrete forms

Debabrata Chakraborthy, an artist from Calcutta, feels that stone is the best medium to express delicate emotions.

Debabrata Chakraborthy

IT IS human in nature to narrate stories or one's life experiences. Each individual does this in his own special way. There are some who do so using artistic ways such as writing, painting or drawing. Debabrata Chakraborthy, an artist from Kolkata, feels comfortable to emote and narrate through his sculptures.

His love for sculpting dates back to his childhood days when he started making little figures of goddess Saraswati with clay and mud. That childhood game grew to become his passion. Debabrata is fascinated with the art of sculpting as "it is three dimensional and I can feel my emotions shaping up into concrete structures."

This 68-year-old sculptor's works are displayed at Gallerie Zen, Dickenson Road. Small forms, shapes, and figures in bronze occupy the floor of the gallery. One has to walk through the little pathways of mud drawings to observe his works. The themes vary from human emotions, animals, to daily life routines.

The sculptures, in plain colours, have a rough texture and none of them has details such as fingers and toes. Even the faces lack eyes, eye brows, nose, and mouth. Yet, Debabrata succeeds in his narration.

He concentrates on body stance, posture, size, and even lines and angles to make his characters come alive, to depict strength, pain, and helplessness. For instance, the sculpture, "Leader and we", shows the leader with a strong body, wide shoulders, and the followers as thin and weak, while the one "End of the day" has a masculine figure sitting with drooping head and shoulders. "Imagination is larger than life. When that has to be transformed into a piece of work, it is always better to present it in a simple manner. The minute details have to be eliminated if one wants the theme to come across strongly," explains Debabrata.

Some of his works, such as "Generation gap" and "Our voyage" have the donkey as their dominating character, and bring a smile to one's face. The work, titled "Ostritch", is an interesting piece. The entire bird is created with various hand gestures from classical Indian dance.

His works in a way, narrate his story and struggle as a sculptor. "Generation gap" and "Our voyage" (depicting the beginning of a journey) are some of his early creations, while "The bed of an intellectual" (a figure sleeping on a bed of thorns), and "The yogi" are some of his later works. One even comes across the mythological character, Ravana.

Though he is well known today, this sculptor's story is no different. To support himself financially, Debabrata had to find himself a job. His first job was with the Geological Survey of India where he made casts and created images and figures of various ancient animals. The creation of a Tyrannosarus (50 ft. in length, and 25 ft. in height), and Triceratops (26 ft. in length and 11 ft. in height) are feathers in his cap. These are displayed at the Nehru Zoological Garden, Hyderabad.

He has won a gold medal for the best exhibit in sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata, and AIFACS, New Delhi. He has also won awards from Birla Academy of Art and Culture, and the West Bengal Lalith Kala Academy.

Working for various organisations, Debabrata discovered that he was comfortable to sculpt with any material, irrespective of the size. However, he is fascinated with bronze as ''these bronze creations will live for so many years and people can enjoy my work even after I am not around.''

The exhibition concluded on April 8.


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