The Spirit of India Chapter II is back with the works of 16 artists and a splash of colours. The exhibition, which began at the Harrington Street Art Centre on October 30, will be on view till November 26.
Conceptualised by arts impresario, curator and writer Ina Puri, this year’s exhibition displays the artworks of Ajit Kumar Jha (Mithila, Bihar), Anil Wangad (Warli, Maharashtra), Anwar Chitrakar (Patachitra, West Bengal), Geeta Bhairya (Bhil, Madhya Pradesh), Gitanjali Das (Patachitra, West Bengal), Kalyan Joshi (Phad, Rajasthan), Kishore Gayen (Paitkar, Jharkhand), Rashmiranjan Mahapatra (Pattachitra, Odisha), Rinku Baiga (Baiga, Madhya Pradesh), Sanjay Chitara (Mata Ni Pachedi, Gujarat), Santosh Kumar Das (Madhubani, Bihar), Shailesh Pandit (traditional pottery), Sita Meda (Bhil, Madhya Pradesh), Venkat Raman Singh Shyam (Gond, Madhya Pradesh) and Yashpal Baranda (Bhil, Rajasthan).
The earlier edition of the exhibition was held in 2019, when the works of eight artists were exhibited.
Chai pe Charcha session in progress
“We have held Spirit of India earlier and have focussed on tribal and folk art forms. I am delighted that we have been able to do this again in the right earnest and give the artists a platform they deserve,” Puri said.
Asked how art and the contemporary world co-existed, Puri said, “The narrative is always changing in the contemporary world and this is reflected in art. Issues like COVID, terrorism, war will be depicted in the new works. It’s nice to perceive that art is not just what we are programmed to see but is actually a lot more alive, changing and evolving at all times. Indian artists are being appreciated all over the world.”
The exhibition is open from noon and 8pm.
“Partners in crime” as she refers to herself and the art centre’s owner Noni Khullar, Ina Puri has been instrumental in curating the exhibition for the city’s art lovers.
Noni Khullar, the owner of Harrington Street Art Centre, said the focus was on giving young artists a platform.
The exhibition, which showcases 45 paintings and 37 sculptures, is on till November 26, noon to 8pm.
Among the highlights of the inaugural ceremony was a “Chai pe Charcha” session where Puri interacted with the artists.
Visitors admire the exquisite artworks
Meet the artists
Santosh Kumar Das
A Mithila artist from Madhubani in Bihar, he learnt his art from the women of the household, beginning with his mother and later his aunts — the great artists Mahasundari Devi and Karpoori Devi. He found inspiration for his works in politics, natural disasters, cinema, music and religion. A fine arts graduate, he also ran an art school in his home town. Das has travelled to the US with his art and is the recipient of the Ojas Art Award.
In his words: Madhubani art is originally of two kinds — the line form and the coloured style. I belong to the line style and follow a template and was inspired by my guru Ganga Devi to take up this style. Kolkata is always special to me as I have been deeply inspired and spiritually guided by stalwarts from Bengal such as Rabindranath Tagore. There’s something in the air here. People’s warmth makes me feel that I am one with them.
Santosh Kumar Das with his recent Madhubani painting
Born into a renowned family of potters, Shailesh Pandit has been working with ceramics since childhood. His training under his father B.R Pandit and at the Golden Bridge Pottery in Pondicherry inspired him to develop an interest in the world of sculptural ceramics and installations. He has participated in numerous exhibitions such at the Lalit Kala Akademi, Lucknow; Gauhar Mahal, Bhopal; Saptaparni, Hyderabad; and Amdavad haat, Ahmedabad. He has won certificates from the Prafulla Dahanukar Art Foundation in ceramic sculpture and from the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (New Delhi) among others.
In his words: I belong to a family of creative individuals. My father was a Padmashree recipient and my grandfather was a traditional potter. We have been associated with ceramic and terracotta for over 50 years now and it has been our mission to revive, change and adapt. For this exhibition, I have displayed a new style which I call “crater glazes.” I am honoured to be here in Kolkata for this exhibition.
Shailesh Pandit with his ceramic masterprices
Venkat Raman Singh Shyam
Venkat Raman Singh Shyam is a contemporary Indian artist who works with murals, etchings, mixed media and animation. Venkat has travelled extensively and exhibited his work in India and the world over. He was awarded the Rajya Hasta Shilpa Puraskar by the Madhya Pradesh government in 2002.
In his words: I have been working on the Gond art form for the last 32 years. This is an ancient art form. As time and place changed, the art form too underwent various changes. It was first used on paper and canvas about four decades back. Practitioners of the art form have been linking life events and contemporary events to their creations as well as to the world around them. Gond paintings are thus the physical embodiment of the world and its various elements through the artist’s eyes and individual creativity. The people of Kolkata are living cherished lives in the midst of an abundance of art and it is heartening to note that people here appreciate art.