Prison inmates bring Kolkata of the past alive on canvas

Rakshak Foundation has provided training to the prison inmates so that they can acquaint themselves with canvas and paints.

November 19, 2018 09:51 pm | Updated 09:52 pm IST - Kolkata

A painting of the Great Eastern Hotel, which appears straight from Bourne and Shepherd photograph of the late 19th century, a bullock cart passing through Shyambazar four point crossing, a tramcars and a hand pulled rickshaw in one frame and the Raj Bhawan, which used to seat of power before the country's capital was shifted to Delhi.

As a part of World Heritage Week Celebrations 40 such paintings have been curated at Indian Museum in an exhibition called Aitirjya (Our Heritage), but not artists who are free wander the world but those who are confined to high walls of the correctional homes.

Fourteen inmates, which include 10 women and four men from the Dum Dum Central Correctional Home have made these artworks in which the old metropolis have came alive. Acrylic on canvas, all these artworks are five feet by four feet and displayed in the courtyards of Indian Museum which sees thousands of visitors. Even the canvas for these artworks has also been prepared by the inmates of the correctional homes.

“This is the first such time that an exhibition of paintings of inmates are displayed at such a prominent museum in Kolkata. These artworks mean a lot to the inmates. It is through these artworks that they can communicate with the world outside,” Chaitali Das, a representative of Rashak Foundation said.

Over the past couple of years, Rakshak Foundation has provided training to the prison inmates so that they can acquaint themselves with canvas and paints.

“The Indian Museum wanted to make the celebration of World Heritage Week more inclusive and participatory and what can be a better way than organising an exhibition of paintings of prison inmates,” Rajesh Purohit Director of Indian Museum said.

Within hours of the display there were many including French Consul General Virgine Coeteval who was present at the inauguration showed interest in buying these artworks, Arun Kumar Gupta, Director General and Inspector General Correctional Home Services of West Bengal said.

Eight of 40 paintings being put on display has been booked, Ms Das said, eagerly waiting to pass on the information to inmates whose works within the four walls of the prison are not only getting noticed but being sought after.

Paintings by correctional home inmates on display at Indian Museum

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