RACHEL SUNDEN, deputy director, American Center, Calcutta
1. What: Terracotta goat by Shyamal Roy @ Rs 6,000
Why: I’m fond of terracotta and in terms of sculpture I really like this one, especially for its face which is smiley and welcoming, nothing super-profound but very engaging. The right space for it would be at the entrance to your home.
2. What: Patachitra by Swarna Chitrakar @ Rs 2,250
Why: Because of its storytelling style, I was trying to guess the story behind this bright and inviting painting. I thought it could be about women and their need to be poised till I learnt that it’s actually the story of The Titanic. The painter has apparently never seen the movie but someone described it to her and she came up with her own interpretation. When I looked at it I thought, yes, this is The Titanic but through the eyes of someone who’s never seen the film and painted with the tradition of only having women. I found that very interesting.
3. What: Madhubani unsigned art work from Bihar @Rs 2,000
Why: I’m very drawn to tribal art and this one gives you a very peaceful feeling. Just staring at its repetitive patterns gets you into a relaxed state. Something very soothing about it. Then you go inside the lines and realise its many dimensions that draw you — from far away or up close.
4. What: A collage by Shakila @ Rs 9,000
Why: I like the image as a whole as much as the layers when I start looking at it closely and try to decipher what the original images must have been. It’s a village scene but not a traditional village shot. Within the bright paint works, there is something dark and sinister underneath.
5. What: Paintings by members of the Gonds tribe @ Rs 9,000 to Rs 18,000
Why: I picked the whole group because I like their style, which is intriguing to look at. It looks primitive and simple but it’s really not. It has a level of sophistication, which is very different from the European high art. It’s the kind of art which at first glance looks simple but when you look deeper you realise it’s complex and different from the portraits you’ve grown up seeing. I also like the story aspect to the paintings. Most of the pieces I’m drawn to use art as a vehicle to tell a story.
Rachel’s art mela experience:What I really liked is the huge variety here. I love how when you look at a piece, they start telling you a story, which is fascinating. I had fun learning about them. The prices are very reasonable and I’ve already bought three! I can’t wait to come back again over the weekend with my son Sennen because it’s interesting to go with a child and see art through their eyes also.
CLINTON S. (TAD) BROWN, political and economic officer at the US consulate
1. Who: Rajamohan Das @ Rs 750 to 2,000
Why: I’m told he is a young boy (17 years old) and you see his use of the imagination, way of looking at the world and use of totally different forms and colours. They’re spectacular because of the versatility and diversity. If some are straightforward portraits, some are almost Salvador Dali in their style.
2. Who: Anirban Ghosh @ Rs 3,000 to 7,000
Why: Beautiful and playful, his paintings seem to have a super-attractive style with use of words and images one sees in ads but not in a way to sell a product.
3. Who: Shekhar Roy @ Rs 18, 000 to 20,000
Why: I love the colours, the shine and gloss. I like the layers that give it a depth. As if you’re looking at a diorama or panorama and not a two-dimensional object.
4. Who: Sumantra Mukherjee @ Rs 4,500 to 6,000
Why: I think his pieces are phenomenal. The way he’s used numbers, holograms and images, it’s too much fun and aesthetically pleasing. I could sit and look at these for hours on end.
5. Who: Amritah Sen @ Rs 6,900
Why: I like the use of watercolours and combination of creatures as a subject. It made me immediately think of my children. There’s a storybook quality to them.
6. Who: Samir Aich @ Rs 16, 000 to 21,000
Why: I like his combination of black and white and the very bright primary colours. Also the simplicity of the forms. It suggests more than it tells. On one hand playful, on the other, spooky.
Tad’s art mela experience:What is fantastic is this breathtaking range of high-quality paintings you might want to show your guests in the living room or ones that are personal and you might want to put up in your bedroom. I think I’m going to buy out what I can before they’re all gone!