Art on eggshells in time of bird flu

Unfazed by outbreak, Tripura girl plans exhibition by next year

By Sekhar Datta in Agartala
  • Published 22.01.16

Agartala, Jan. 21: At a time when there is a fresh outbreak of bird flu at Gandhigram, 12km north from here, Agartala-based Ankita Bhowmik, 24, is busy creating artistic patterns on fragile eggshells to produce excellent artwork.

Her collections include Durga, Laxmi, Saraswati, Kartikeya, Ganesh, replica of a tree and other exquisite works.

No exhibition has so far been organised and there has been no sale, but Ankita continues her labour of love that provides visual delight to visitors as well as art connoisseurs.

"I was attracted to this art form in 2012 when I was a student of MSc (economics) in Tripura Central University. One day, while looking at eggshells strewn behind our residential building, it suddenly occurred to me what if I try to make things out of these shells?" Ankita said.

That day saw the beginning of a new art form in Tripura as she made a flower with her improvised tools out of eggshells.

Initial inspiration came from her father Asish Kumar Bhowmik, an assistant engineer in the power department, and homemaker mother Rupa.

Ankita completed her masters in 2014. Since then she has been waiting for a teacher's job in a school. "Many of our seniors, including some PhD-holders in economics, are jobless. I am not trying for PhD. I shall be happy with a teacher's job in a school where I can train students in artwork from eggshells," she said.

Ankita's father has allotted her a separate room at home which is on Ramnagar Road 9 in northwestern Agartala. This room is her studio where she has stocked her finished works like figures of gods and goddesses, a Nageswar flower (Mesua ferrea), a replica of the Taj Mahal, a butterfly, a lotus, a palanquin and a replication of Manipur's Raas Leela celebrations among others.

Her raw materials are eggshells collected by her from houses in the neighbourhood and she plans to collect eggshells from hotels and restaurants in future. "These artworks give me satisfaction of creativity. If anybody wants to see the works, he or she is most welcome. Getting a prize or recognition will be a bonus for me."

Ankita is planning to organise an exhibition of her artwork. "By next year, I may organise it in the art auditorium of the Agartala Municipal Corporation," Ankita said.

Her finished products have been uploaded for display on a South Korean website