Art

Beauty in diversity

The essence of Bengal is for anyone to see and experience at the show by Spectrum Artists’ Circle group of Kolkata. In their 45th show, which is happening in Bengaluru, the group’s 11 senior artists present an array of mediums and styles unified by the aesthetics of Bengal School of Art.

Realistic imagery, watercolours, tribal people, daily life, prints by Malay Chandan Saha, Biswajit Mondal, Swapan Kumar Palley, Subuddha Ghosh, Sukumar Das, Anjan Sengupta, Arpita Basu, Anupam Karmakar, and Samir Saha.

The group was founded by Samir Saha and Anjan Sengupta 35 years ago after they passed out from Indian College Of Arts & Draftsmanship. “We wanted to remain together because possibilities increase and difficulties decrease when you operate as a group,” says Samir.

The group with artists in the age group of 50 to 60 has established an identity of its own which is experimentation within the framework of paintings and prints. An appropriate example of this is enamel painting on metal “Darkness and Beyond” by Malay in which the artist is ruminating about rural India. “Despite the challenges in daily life, and difficult conditions, they are happy, sing songs, celebrate their festivals and culture,” explains Malay.

Other artists in the show who celebrate tradition are Karmakar, Anupam Kumar Giri and Murari Mohon Basu. If Karmakar highlights the baul tradition of West Bengal, Giri draws inspiration from Rajasthan women musicians. Murari pays tribute to tradition with his poetic imagery: beautiful men and women with almond-shaped eyes and sharp features playing flute or holding a flower.

Arpita, the lone woman member of the group says, while the artists are free to do whatever they want for their group outing, the work has to be of a certain level. “Because there is an identity and reputation of the outfit that has got built over the last three decades, we need works of certain standard,” says Arpita, who received a grant from “The Pollock-Krasner Foundation Inc” of New York. Arpita used to do watercolours on silk but due to practical problems, shifted to handmade paper. Now she sticks rice paper on handmade paper, to achieve the brilliant effect of watercolour. Her subjects — glimpses of daily life rendered in a quirky way and miniature-inspired works, work well within this framework.

Das has also done paintings but it is his uncommon monoprints which really stand out. Monoprint is a single print taken from a design created in oil or printing ink on glass or metal. Prints are rare these days and techniques like monoprint are even more rare. His female figures in a circular canvases hints at his mastery over the medium.

Sengupta’s quarrel between two crows (acrylic on paper) is visceral. So is Ghosh’s “Doorway”. As the viewer gets a peep into a house, he/she feels tempted to enter this intimate space. Palley’s imagery borrowing from our classical Indian art is rendered in his own style. It feels like a dream. Mondal with his exploding city by a river makes a statement about the state of affairs. “All the cities are overcrowded. They all look the same” he says.

(The show is on at Chitrakala Parishath, Kumara Krupa Road till August 6.)

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 1:41:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/a-35-year-old-artists-group-from-west-bengal-is-nurturing-art/article19415183.ece

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