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Conversation of 10 artists


It is not every day that artists curate exhibitions, and artists of Jogen Chowdhury’s stature even less. Conversation in Colour, a group show now on at Ganges Art Gallery till January 10, is curated by Chowdhury and includes the paintings of 10 artists from all over India, irrespective of age.

Their work, he felt, has a strong sense of individuality. They have an attitude of their own, and their works exude a sense of liberation. The 10 artists in alphabetical order are Adip Dutta, Amitava Das, Ashim Purkayastha, Baiju Parthan, Debnath Basu, Jayashree Chakravarty, Mahula Ghosh, Manisha Gera Baswani, Mona Rai and Tanmoy Samanya. Many of them were trained either at Kala Bhavana or Baroda, or both, and some live in Delhi. But as artists they have nothing in common. This exhibition does not have a theme, but as the title suggests, it is a sort of dialogue among Jogen Chowdhury’s chosen ones.

Both Amitava Das and Mona Rai’s works have a strong decorative element. Ashim Purkayastha’s work is a clever take on our miniature tradition. The war in Iraq had goaded Mahula Ghosh to create this body of watercolours, while the changes in our ecology were the impetus behind Manisha Gera Baswani’s paintings. The viewer confronts unreason as s/he is in the presence of a snake amidst fine line drawings of everyday things by Adip Dutta. The silhouettes of animals and objects are the main components of Tanmoy Samanta’s works.

In Baiju Parthan these animals become icon-like. A magnifying glass reveals the fantastic world of Debnath Basu graphite drawings. Jayashree Chakravarty’s exquisite monochromatic, iridescent series of paintings on germination prove yet again that she is one of India’s finest artists.

Soulful heritage

The porch in front of Victoria Memorial Hall reverberated with the soulful strains of Baul music as Armaan Fakir, Golaam Fakir, Aakash Fakir and Baabu Fakir sang in chorus.

The four brothers highlighted the rich musical tradition of Bengal at a programme as part of the Victoria Memorial’s World Heritage Week initiative.

“Apart from Baul music, there is Murshidi, Ghetu, Naachni, Chhau, Bhawaiyya, Goalporia and more. Each of them has a distinct origin and is peculiar to a particular area of Bengal and Bangladesh,” said Sanhita Das, who moderated the event along with Ashadullah Gayen.

“It is time we take notice of our oral history. Preserving heritage is not just about keeping parks clean and looking after monuments. It is also about nurturing our folklores and music,” said Jayanta Sengupta, the secretary and curator of Victoria Memorial Hall.

Armaan Fakir, who has starred in Gautam Ghose’s Moner Manush, spoke about keeping the legacy alive. “My father Shamsuddin was a fakir too. He played the ektaara and the dotaara. We’re four brothers trying to keep his legacy alive,” he said.


Kanchenjunga in different hues and from various angles, looking equally exotic on every canvas on display at the Gorky Sadan last month.

Prints and paintings by the father-son duo Nicholas and Svyatoslav Roerich — Russian artists, Indologists, travellers and peace activists of the last century — were brought down from Kalimpong for a show organised by the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Calcutta and the Himalayan Institute of Goodwill and Living Ethics.

The inauguration was attended by Alexander V. Mazirka, the vice-consul and director of Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Calcutta, among others.

Contributed by Soumitra Das, Showli Chakraborty and Chandreyee Ghose