The power of spiritualism on canvas

Madhur Tankha

NEW DELHI: A weeklong painting exhibition "Serenity Series 2000-05" of noted artist Niren Sen Gupta opened at the Lalit Kala Akademi here over the weekend. Niren, who through his latest work has attempted to show the power of spiritualism, says: "While the average Indian continues to be distracted by the lure of material comforts, the West is increasingly seeking refuge and guidance in the perennial philosophies of the East. My own spiritual journey is integrated with my work and I find ready inspiration in the treasury of wisdom the Ramakrishna Mission has to offer. In my paintings, I often portray monks from the Mission in saffron robes, symbolising the spirit of sacrifice."

In the sixties, Niren drew inspiration from Bangladeshi refugees living in poverty in Kolkata to draw soul-searching paintings. He feels that spirituality teaches a person the meaning of compassion, besides motivating him to serve all mankind. "All of Indian art essentially depicts the universe in all its abundance and multiplicity of life and form. Yet within this complexity lies the omniscient transcendental spirit. The muted language of symbolism that encourages contemplation over the deeper context is contained in all my works. Elements like lotus, banana tree and bright colours make a repeated appearance and help reinforce the underlying message of hope for all mankind," says Niren, who visited the tribal belt of Madhya Pradesh and Orissa in the 1990s to observe the tribal folk's lifestyle and simple way of life.

Niren, who graduated in science from Calcutta University, was the former principal of the College of Art here in Delhi. His solo exhibitions have been displayed in prestigious galleries across the country.

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