Kolkata

Mamata Banerjee leads list of artists using canvas to protest against CAA, NRC

Mamta Banerjee's painting displayed outside the Esplanade metro station, Kolkata

Mamta Banerjee's painting displayed outside the Esplanade metro station, Kolkata   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

One of the works exhibited outside the Esplanade metro station in Kolkata is the creation of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who usually prefers the mike over the brush to express her anger.

The black canvas with a tricolour border has a human skull painted on it. The artwork is captioned: “Where has the Ashok Chakra gone? Symbol of death has replaced it!”

In the market the painting is likely to fetch a handsome price, because it is the creation of Jogen Chowdhury, one of Bengal’s leading living artists, but right now it’s on display — along with works of 44 other artists — on the pavement outside the Esplanade metro station in the heart of Kolkata. The idea is to convey to the masses the anger expressed by the artists against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the possibility of a National Register of Citizens.

One of the works exhibited is the creation of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who usually prefers the mike over the brush to express her anger, but here, her painting is conspicuous by its presence in the open-air gallery. “Eta madam er — This is madam’s painting,” policemen guarding the gallery inform curious onlookers.

Anti-CAA paintings by Bengal’s artists on display.

Anti-CAA paintings by Bengal’s artists on display.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

Her work depicts a female face — perhaps Goddess Kali — and bears a message that says no to CAA, NRC and NPR (National Population Register). She has signed it as ‘Mamataa 2020’. The work of another artist, Subhaprasanna, shows a large saffron-coloured fish all set to gobble up smaller fishes of different hues.

All the paintings are on black canvas — symbolic of protest — and were done on the spot by the artists on January 28 at the Gandhi statue, before Ms. Banerjee decided to put them up on display. The exhibition was inaugurated on Wednesday by the state’s education minister Partha Chatterjee.

Watch | Artists protest against CAA in Guwahati
 

“The so-called torch-bearers of Hindutva are trying to seize our India against the wishes of her people and against the spirit of India,” informs the bilingual notice introducing the exhibition. “Our India is pluralist. It belongs to people of all religion, race and caste. Our country believes in the philosophy of ‘Jato Mat Tato Path’ (as many thoughts, so many ways).”

It goes on to say, “When people are being attacked or killed because they don’t conform to a certain ideology and when there’s a conspiracy to deport people from their own country by formation of so-called new laws, it makes us worried and shamed. So we lodge our silent protest against NRC and CAA through our free canvases.”

Kolkata has seen continuous protests ever since CAA came into existence — even the book fair saw flash protests.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 11:55:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/mamata-banerjee-leads-list-of-artists-using-canvas-to-protest-against-caa-nrc/article30817294.ece

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