Kolkata Centre for Creativity (KCC) is thrilled to host a series of conversations on 10th June 2023 in conjunction with the ongoing exhibition 'Scenes from Santiniketan & Benodebehari's Handscrolls' organised by Kolkata Centre for Creativity in collaboration with Gallery Rasa, curated by Prof R. Siva Kumar.
The exhibition has put on display for the very first time—Scenes from Santiniketan—the earliest and longest handscroll that is 44.6 feet long. It depicts the Santiniketan landscape of the 1920s in a panoramic view. Besides, it features his other works on landscapes through reproductions of scrolls, early fragments, pages from his sketchbook, and a lively ceiling mural. Students who are interested in arts can benefit immensely from this exhibition.
The schedule for 10th June is as follows:
• Time: 4:30 pm - Debdutta Gupta in conversation with Dr Debasis Bhattacharya about his grandfather Benodebehari Mukherjee's letters to him and other conversations. Between 1966 to 1980, as a young doctor and amateur painter, Dr Debasis Bhattacharya often wrote letters to his well-known grandfather, artist Benodebehari Mukherjee. The epistolary conversations contained passionate probing, informed opinions and disagreements, enriched by an unadulterated exchange of ideas. The vast difference in age and ideology of the two notwithstanding, Benodebehari Mukherjee and Dr Debasis Bhattacharya developed a personal discourse of art education. As Dr Debasis Bhattacharya engages candidly with Debdutta Gupta, many of these discussions and related anecdotes will come to the fore.
• Time: 5:00 pm - Landscape and the Artist's Self: Benodebehari's Engagement with the Santiniketan Countryside—An illustrated talk by Prof. R. Siva Kumar. Prof. Siva Kumar will provide a concise overview of the landscape genre before delving into Benodebehari's unique approach and the significance of the scroll format. He will also touch upon the influences of prominent figures like Rabindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, and Ramkinkar Baij on Benodebehari's work. In support of his argument, he will use visually-engaging slides, drawing relevant examples and comparisons, to enhance the audience's understanding and appreciation of Benodebehari's artistic exploration within the landscape genre and the broader cultural and artistic context within which he operated.
• Time: 6:00 pm - Noted art critic and curator Uma Nair in conversation with Prof. R. Siva Kumar about his distinguished curatorial practice, including 'Santiniketan: The Making of a Contextual Modernism', 'K. G. Subramanyan: A Retrospective, 'Benodebehari: A Centenary Retrospective' (co-curated with Prof. Gulam Mohammad Sheikh), and 'The Last Harvest: Paintings of Rabindranath Tagore', which was shown at nine museums of the world besides four museums in India. The conversation will focus on Siva Kumar's extensive role as a curator, researcher, and writer of the Bengal Masters. In addition, it will explore Siva Kumar's approach to composition and strategy, highlighting his ability to navigate without succumbing to selective memory or nostalgia. Nair, who has dedicated years to studying Siva Kumar's curatorial practice, believes that curating is an academic endeavour that must harmoniously blend the beauty of art history with the spontaneity of aesthetics, avoiding monotonous verbosity.
As a curator, Nair has organised notable retrospectives for artists such as Gopal Ghose (2015), Jamini Roy (2016), Prodosh Das Gupta (2021), and Jyoti Bhatt. She has also authored NGMA's publications on Dhanraj Bhagat at 100 Years, Upendra Maharathi at 100 Years, and ITIHAAS (Sculptures from NGMA's Archives). Furthermore, she wrote a significant solo exhibition catalogue for Jogen Chowdhury titled 'Abohoman' (Vadehra Art Gallery, 2007).