Bipin Bihari's works enrich Archives

daughter donates art, documents

By Namita Panda in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 13.06.15
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Nibedita Mohanty donates one of her father's paintings to National Archives in Bhubaneswar. Telegraph picture

Bhubaneswar, June 12: Works of renowned artist Bipin Bihari Choudhary will be housed at the National Archives here.

The artist's daughter, well-known historian Nibedita Mohanty, has donated Choudhary's paintings, books and other documents from his private collection to the archives. These documents will be conserved and used by researchers, who can access them at the archives.

Choudhary (1905-1982), who had hearing and speech impairment, was the first physically challenged student at the Associated Royal College of Art, London. He is still the only Odia member of the college.

Grandson of the legendary Odia author Fakir Mohan Senapati, who was instrumental in reviving the Odia literature, Choudhary had been a close friend of Helen Keller, C.F. Andrews and many other well-known personalities.

"A physically challenged artist with sheer dint of determination and commitment, Choudhary proved himself as an excellent academic painter. He was the master of lines and his works from the time before he came to the state were exceptionally brilliant. They can be compared to the works of any European academic painter," said veteran artist and art historian Dinanath Pathy, who has written a book on Choudhary.

After completing his studies, Choudhary had returned to the state. Nibedita remembers his father's deep interest in promoting education. "He had written dictionaries for the easy usage of Odia, English and even Bengali. He fought for the establishment of schools for the deaf and mute and an art college in the state," she said.

With Choudhary's attempts, the All-Odisha Deaf and Dumb School was established in Cuttack in 1938. He had a prized collection of autographs and rare photographs of great personalities, many of which were donated by his daughter to the National Archives.

"Our gallery for art and artists is going to open soon and we will display these once it's ready," said assistant director of the National Archives, Bhubaneswar chapter.

"I hope his best works get showcased in an art gallery. He was a multifaceted personality and it is indeed a welcome step that his sketches, photographs and documents are being archived," said Pathy.

The art fraternity welcomed the initiative. Odisha Lalit Kala Akademi secretary Tarakant Parida said this step would help researchers get reference documents about the artist. "Choudhary was one of the rare Odia artists who was very active internationally at an important point of time in Indian history. It is laudable of his family to donate his works to the archives," Pardia said.