A happy marriage
Visiting your own environs through the lenses of an ‘outsider’ is, almost always, as much a revelation as afforded by an onion being peeled. Wera Saether’s first exhibition in Calcutta was four years ago (‘My India’), but the Norwegian’s ‘Oh! Kolkata’ this time being on the city alone (at the Academy of Fine Arts) was consciously exhibited without captions. The stunning use of the colour red (not hot, but rich and warm) stood out, and naturally so: the predominant theme seemed to be the realm of gods and goddesses, from Kali to Shiva to dumped idols under aged trees. Not unexpectedly, one finds that Saether has a university degree in the history of religion. A happy marriage of camera and city, composition and colour. Seen before, but with yet another peel off the onion.
Not tainted by cliche
Keenly aware of the power of kindred art forms to bring into play newer aesthetic imagery of considerable visual significance, Pallab Kanti Mitra has for some time been busy exploring the inter-penetrating area of poetry and painting. In the beginning his artistic exercises took the shape of near illustrative transcreations of his favourite poetic passages. But soon enough, he eschewed the habit of embellishing poetry with colourful imagery. His remarkable prolificness needs now to be tempered with judicious self-restraint. Mitra’s current offerings at the Birla Academy of Art and Culture include a series of impressive pictures of his rich mindscape — visual projections that are free-flowing and untainted by cliche.
Heartwarming humility coupled with competence highlighted young aspiring tabla-player Pran Gopal Bandopadhyay’s debut in a jugalbandi with father-guru Ananda Gopal Bandopadhyay at the Vivekananda Hall last week. The father-son duo, representing experience and effervescent innocence, provided support to the violin-harmonium duet, interspersed with uthaan and evenly shared parans culminating in jointly executed tehais. Biswajit Roy Chowdhury’s violin, rich with glides and microtones, represented the emotive style of Pt V.G. Jog. The finer nuances of Sanatan Goswami’s seasoned harmonium edged towards the light classical. Though diverse in nature and style, together they etched the beauty of raga Kirwani and Jhinjhoti, followed by a dhun and a composition in Bhairavi.